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Direct biliary drainage using transnasal endoscopy for patients with severe-to-moderate acute cholangitis



Professor Jong Ho Moon, Soon Chun Hyang University School of Medicine, Digestive Disease Center and Research Institute, Soon Chun Hyang University Bucheon Hospital, 1174 Jung-Dong, Wonmi-Ku, Bucheon 420-767, Korea. Email:


Background and Aim

Endoscopic biliary drainage (BD) is an effective palliative treatment for acute cholangitis. Transnasal endoscopy (TNE) using an ultraslim endoscope can be less stressful and has limited hemodynamic effects compared with endoscopic retrograde cholangiography using a conventional duodenoscope. Here, we evaluate the clinical usefulness of direct BD by TNE in critically ill patients with acute cholangitis who had undergone endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) previously.


Twenty-three patients with severe-to-moderate acute cholangitis who had undergone ES previously were enrolled prospectively. BD was achieved by TNE, using an ultraslim upper endoscope with a 5-Fr nasobiliary drainage catheter and/or a plastic stent. The technical and clinical success, as well as the safety, of the procedure were investigated.


A total of 23 patients were enrolled, including 17 with bile duct stones. The severity of the cholangitis was severe in nine (39.1%) and moderate in 14 patients (60.9%). The technical success rate was 95.7% (22/23). Nasobiliary drainage was performed in 15 patients, a plastic stent was placed in three, and both treatments were used in four patients. In three patients, direct BD by TNE was achieved in the intensive care unit without fluoroscopy. Direct cholangioscopy for distal common bile duct was performed in nine patients (40.9%), and three patients underwent immediate stone extraction under endoscopic visualization. Clinical improvement was achieved in 20/23 (87.0%) of patients. No significant procedure-related complications occurred.


Direct BD by TNE may be useful in critically ill patients with severe-to-moderate acute cholangitis who had undergone ES previously.