Acute pancreatitis (AP) is the most serious emergent disease in the gastroenterology field. The most common cause of AP is naturally gallstones. The most cases have mild disease and the illness limits itself in a short time period. In 15–20% of cases, the severe form of acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) develops. Some patients have concomitant cholangitis. In these patients, releiving biliary obstruction with endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERCP) and endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) is essential. However, correct timing of ERCP is a debate. While some authors and guidelines suggested that ERCP can be performed in first 24 hours, the others suggested its use during the first 72 hours. In the first 24 hours, ERCP is diffucult to apply due to ampullary edema and general ill situation of the patient. Rather than ERCP, agressive fluid replacement and supportive therapy are very much important in the first 72 hours of admission. Moreover, there is no consensus on timing of ERCP in patients with severe pancreatitis without cholangitis. But all international guidelines suggested that ERCP should be perfomed in all patients with mild or severe pancreatitis together with concomitant cholangitis during the first 72 hours. After resolution of ABP, cholecystectomy should be performed to prevent recurrent pancreatitis during the same hospitalization period (index cholecystectomy). If the patient is not suitable for cholecystectomy, ERCP and ES should be done to prevent further attacks of acute pancreatitis.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Pancreatitis