Role of endoscopic ultrasound in pancreatic diseases: a systematic review

M Ashkar, T B Gardner
Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2014, 60 (4): 227-45

AIM: Since its introduction, endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) has been increasingly gaining more attention for diagnosing various gastrointestinal conditions. We aim to systematically review the literature and highlight the benefit of using EUS in different pancreatic diseases by primarily reviewing its importance in diagnosing, treating pancreatic pathologies, comparing its accuracy to other modalities and determining its limitations and complications.

METHODS: Using defined (MeSH) terms and keywords; two reviewers conducted a MEDLINE search through August 2014, in addition to manually searching relevant bibliographies cited in the included studies. All case reports, case series, letters, non-English and non-human articles were excluded.

RESULTS: Total of (N.=2144) potentially relevant citations were identified and screened, of which (N.=525) fulfilled eligibility criteria and grouped into seven pancreatic disease categories: chronic pancreatitis (N.=72), acute pancreatitis (N.=75), autoimmune pancreatitis (N.=31), pancreatic cancer (N.=179), neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors (N.=48), pancreatic cysts (N.=111) and pancreatic divisum (N.=9).

CONCLUSION: EUS sensitivity to diagnose chronic pancreatitis is greater than endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and CT, but using EUS-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) is not diagnostic. In acute biliary pancreatitis, EUS is superior to CT and to magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) for detection of microlithiasis. EUS-guided pseudocyst drainage is safe with a high success rate. Contrast-enhanced EUS is more valuable than EUS in autoimmune pancreatitis and EUS-FNA is not recommended. EUS is superior to MRCP and multiple detector CT in evaluating pancreatic divisum. Cystic carcinoembryonic antigen level obtained using EUS-FNA is the most accurate test to exclude malignant pancreatic cyst.

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