What happens before an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)?

After you check in for your endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) -- a procedure that combines the use of a flexible, lighted scope (endoscope) with x-ray pictures to examine the tubes that drain the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas -- one of the nurses will meet with you to review your medical conditions and medications. An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in a vein in your arm. You will proceed to the procedure room, where your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level will be carefully monitored. A sedative also will be administered through your IV, which will make you feel drowsy. The back of your throat may then be sprayed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort as the endoscope is passed down your throat into your esophagus (the swallowing tube), and through the stomach into your duodenum (part of the small intestine). The contrast material (dye) will be used to identify your biliary tree and possibly a pancreatic duct.

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