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Pancreatic stents for prophylaxis against post-ERCP pancreatitis: a meta-analysis and systematic review.

BACKGROUND: Acute pancreatitis is a common complication of ERCP. Several randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) have evaluated the use of pancreatic stents in the prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis with varying results.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted a meta-analysis and systematic review to assess the role of prophylactic pancreatic stents for prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis.

DESIGN: MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Database of Systematic Reviews, PubMed, and recent abstracts from major conference proceedings were searched. RCTs and retrospective or prospective, nonrandomized studies comparing prophylactic stent with placebo or no stent for post-ERCP pancreatitis were included for the meta-analysis and systematic review. Standard forms were used to extract data by 2 independent reviewers. The effect of stents (for RCTs) was analyzed by calculating pooled estimates of post-ERCP pancreatitis, hyperamylasemia, and grade of pancreatitis. Separate analyses were performed for each outcome by using the odds ratio (OR) or weighted mean difference. Random- or fixed-effects models were used. Publication bias was assessed by funnel plots. Heterogeneity among studies was assessed by calculating I(2) measure of inconsistency.

SETTING: Systematic review and meta-analysis of patients undergoing pancreatic stent placement for prophylaxis against post-ERCP pancreatitis.

PATIENTS: Adult patients undergoing ERCP.

INTERVENTIONS: Pancreatic stent placement for the prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Post-ERCP pancreatitis, hyperamylasemia, and complications after pancreatic stent placement.

RESULTS: Eight RCTs (656 subjects) and 10 nonrandomized studies met the inclusion criteria (4904 subjects). Meta-analysis of the RCTs showed that prophylactic pancreatic stents decreased the odds of post-ERCP pancreatitis (odds ratio, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.12-0.38; P<.01). The absolute risk difference was 13.3% (95% CI, 8.8%-17.8%). The number needed to treat was 8 (95% CI, 6-11). Stents also decreased the level of hyperamylasemia (WMD, -309.22; 95% CI, -350.95 to -267.49; P≤.01). Similar findings were also noted from the nonrandomized studies.

LIMITATIONS: Small sample size of some trials, different types of stents used, inclusion of low-risk patients in some studies, and lack of adequate study of long-term complications of pancreatic stent placement.

CONCLUSIONS: Pancreatic stent placement decreases the risk of post-ERCP pancreatitis and hyperamylasemia in high-risk patients.

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