Cirrhosis, Child-Pugh Score Predict ERCP Complications

Will Pass

November 04, 2020

Cirrhosis may increase the risk of complications from endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), according to a retrospective study involving almost 700 patients.

The study also showed that Child-Pugh class was a better predictor of risk than Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, reported lead author Michelle Bernshteyn, MD, a third-year internal medicine resident at State University of New York, Syracuse, and colleagues.

"There remains a scarcity in the literature regarding complications and adverse effects after ERCP in cirrhotic patients, particularly those incorporating Child-Pugh class and MELD score or type of intervention as predictors,"

Bernshteyn said during a virtual presentation at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting. "Furthermore, literature review demonstrates inconsistency among results."

To gain clarity, Bernshteyn and colleagues reviewed electronic medical records from 692 patients who underwent ERCP, of whom 174 had cirrhosis and 518 did not. For all patients, the investigators analyzed demographics, comorbidities, indications for ERCP, type of sedation, type of intervention, and complications within a 30-day period. Complications included bleeding, pancreatitis, cholangitis, perforation, mortality caused by ERCP, and mortality from other causes. Patients with cirrhosis were further analyzed based on etiology of cirrhosis, Child-Pugh class, and MELD score.

The analysis revealed that complications were significantly more common in patients with cirrhosis than in those without cirrhosis (21.30% vs. 13.51%; P = .015). No specific complications were significantly more common in patients with cirrhosis than in those without cirrhosis.

In patients with cirrhosis, 41.18% of Child-Pugh class C patients had complications, compared with 15.15% of class B patients and 19.30% of class A patients (P = .010). In contrast, MELD scores were not significantly associated with adverse events.

Further analysis showed that, in patients without cirrhosis, diagnostic-only ERCP and underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were associated with high rates of complications (P = .039 and P = .003, respectively). In patients with cirrhosis, underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension predicted adverse events (P = .009 and P = .003, respectively).

"The results of our study reaffirm that liver cirrhosis has an impact on the occurrence of complications during ERCP," Bernshteyn said. "Child-Pugh class seems to be more reliable as compared to MELD score in predicting complications of ERCP in cirrhosis patients," she added. "However, we are also aware that Child-Pugh and MELD scores are complementary to each other while evaluating outcomes of any surgery in patients with cirrhosis."

In 2017, Udayakumar Navaneethan, MD, a gastroenterologist at AdventHealth Orlando's Center for Interventional Endoscopy, and an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, and colleagues published a national database study concerning the safety of ERCP in patients with liver cirrhosis.

"[The present] study is important as it highlights the fact that ERCP is associated with significant complications in cirrhotic patients compared to those without cirrhosis," Navaneethan said when asked to comment. "Also, Child-Pugh score appeared to be more reliable than MELD score in predicting complications of ERCP in cirrhotic patients."

He went on to explain relevance for practicing clinicians. "The clinical implications of the study are that a detailed risk-benefit discussion needs to be done with patients with liver cirrhosis, particularly with advanced liver disease Child-Pugh class C, irrespective of the etiology," Navaneethan said. "ERCP should be performed when there is clear evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks."

The investigators and Navaneethan reported no conflicts of interest.

American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting: Abstract S0982. Presented October 26, 2020.

This article originally appeared on

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