Comparison of endoscopic papillary large balloon dilation and endoscopic sphincterotomy for retrieval of choledocholithiasis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Yadong Feng, Hong Zhu, Xiaoxing Chen, Shunfu Xu, Wenfang Cheng, Jinliang Ni, Ruihua Shi
Journal of Gastroenterology 2012, 47 (6): 655-63

BACKGROUND: Endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST) is the most frequently used technique for removal of stones from the bile duct. In recent years, endoscopic papillary large balloon dilation (EPLBD) has been shown to be a safe and effective technique for the removal of large or difficult common bile duct stones. However, comparison of EPLBD and EST for effectiveness in bile duct stone removal has given inconsistent results. The present meta-analysis was carried out to compare the effect of EPLBD and EST in retrieval of choledocholithiasis.

METHODS: A literature search was performed using Medline, PubMed, EMBase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) for relevant articles published in English. A meta-analysis was performed on the retrieved studies.

RESULTS: Seven randomized controlled trials and 790 patients were involved. EPLBD compared with EST resulted in similar outcomes for overall successful clearance rates of bile duct stones (97.35 vs. 96.35%, OR 1.28, 95% CI 0.58-2.82, P = 0.54), stone clearance in the first ERCP session (87.87 vs. 84.15%, OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.81-2.11, P = 0.21) and removal of large sized stones (OR 1.08, 95% CI 0.21-5.64, P = 0.49). EPLBD performed with either a short or a long ballooning time did not increase the bile duct stone clearance rate. EPLBD decreased overall usage of mechanical lithotripsy in the bile duct stone removal process (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.30-0.86, P = 0.01). However, no significant difference was found between EPLBD and EST in the use of mechanical lithotripsy for the removal of large sized stones (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.34-1.28, P = 0.22). Compared with EST, EPLBD did not show a short ERCP duration (WMD -0.75, 95% CI -1.57 to 0.08, P = 0.08). EPLBD was associated with fewer overall complications than EST (5.8 vs. 13.1%, OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.24-0.68, P = 0.0007). Hemorrhage occurred less frequently with EPLBD than with EST (OR 0.15, 95% CI 0.04-0.50, P = 0.002). There was no significant difference in post-ERCP pancreatitis, perforation and cholangitis.

CONCLUSIONS: EPLBD is an effective and safe method for the removal of large or difficult common bile stones. EPLBD should be considered as an alternative to EST for patients in whom EST could not be routinely performed. Based on EPLBD causing fewer cases of hemorrhaging, EPLBD is also recommended for removal of large or difficult common bile duct stones in patients with an underlying coagulopathy or need for anticoagulation following ERCP. The long-term prognosis of EPLBD need to be further investigated.

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