• endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography;
  • endoscopic ultrasonography;
  • intraductal ultrasonography;
  • ultrasonic probe;
  • ultrasonography

Background: Intraductal ultrasonography of the bile/pancreatic duct using a thin-caliber ultrasonic probe (IDUS) provides excellent images of these ducts and the surrounding structures. Insertion of the device through the papilla of Vater is essential to carry out this examination. We developed a new probe with a ropeway system (XUM5RG-29R; Olympus, Tokyo) for transpapillary IDUS. Its usefulness such as ease of application and safety were prospectively evaluated.

Patients and methods: During the period of October 1997 to April 1998, transpapillary IDUS using the probe was performed in 194 patients at seven medical institutions. The success rates of insertion of the probe into the bile/pancreatic duct, observation of the area of interest, and the incidence of complications were evaluated.

Results: Passage of the probe through the papilla was successful without difficulty in all the patients. Successful introduction of the probe into the pancreatic duct, bile duct and both of the ducts was achieved in 98.4, 100 and 85% of the patients, respectively. Once the probe was introduced into the aimed duct, it was possible to obtain IDUS images of the area of interest in all but five patients. Mild acute pancreatitis developed in eight patients (4.1%), all of whom recovered with conservative therapy only.

Conclusions: It is possible to introduce the new ultrasonic probe into the desired duct once a guide wire has been inserted. This type of ultrasonic probe is quite useful when performing transpapillary IDUS of the bile and/or pancreatic duct.