JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography versus intraoperative cholangiography for diagnosis of common bile duct stones

Kurinchi Selvan Gurusamy, Vanja Giljaca, Yemisi Takwoingi, David Higgie, Goran Poropat, Davor Štimac, Brian R Davidson
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015 February 26, (2): CD010339
25719222

BACKGROUND: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) are tests used in the diagnosis of common bile duct stones in people suspected of having common bile duct stones. There has been no systematic review of the diagnostic accuracy of ERCP and IOC.

OBJECTIVES: To determine and compare the accuracy of ERCP and IOC for the diagnosis of common bile duct stones.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded, BIOSIS, and Clinicaltrials.gov to September 2012. To identify additional studies, we searched the references of included studies and systematic reviews identified from various databases (Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE)), Health Technology Assessment (HTA), Medion, and ARIF (Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility)). We did not restrict studies based on language or publication status, or whether data were collected prospectively or retrospectively.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included studies that provided the number of true positives, false positives, false negatives, and true negatives for ERCP or IOC. We only accepted studies that confirmed the presence of common bile duct stones by extraction of the stones (irrespective of whether this was done by surgical or endoscopic methods) for a positive test, and absence of common bile duct stones by surgical or endoscopic negative exploration of the common bile duct, or symptom-free follow-up for at least six months for a negative test as the reference standard in people suspected of having common bile duct stones. We included participants with or without prior diagnosis of cholelithiasis; with or without symptoms and complications of common bile duct stones; with or without prior treatment for common bile duct stones; and before or after cholecystectomy. At least two authors screened abstracts and selected studies for inclusion independently.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently collected data from each study. We used the bivariate model to summarise the sensitivity and specificity of the tests.

MAIN RESULTS: We identified five studies including 318 participants (180 participants with and 138 participants without common bile duct stones) that reported the diagnostic accuracy of ERCP and five studies including 654 participants (125 participants with and 529 participants without common bile duct stones) that reported the diagnostic accuracy of IOC. Most studies included people with symptoms (participants with jaundice or pancreatitis) suspected of having common bile duct stones based on blood tests, ultrasound, or both, prior to the performance of ERCP or IOC. Most studies included participants who had not previously undergone removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). None of the included studies was of high methodological quality as evaluated by the QUADAS-2 tool (quality assessment tool for diagnostic accuracy studies). The sensitivities of ERCP ranged between 0.67 and 0.94 and the specificities ranged between 0.92 and 1.00. For ERCP, the summary sensitivity was 0.83 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72 to 0.90) and specificity was 0.99 (95% CI 0.94 to 1.00). The sensitivities of IOC ranged between 0.75 and 1.00 and the specificities ranged between 0.96 and 1.00. For IOC, the summary sensitivity was 0.99 (95% CI 0.83 to 1.00) and specificity was 0.99 (95% CI 0.95 to 1.00). For ERCP, at the median pre-test probability of common bile duct stones of 0.35 estimated from the included studies (i.e., 35% of people suspected of having common bile duct stones were confirmed to have gallstones by the reference standard), the post-test probabilities associated with positive test results was 0.97 (95% CI 0.88 to 0.99) and negative test results was 0.09 (95% CI 0.05 to 0.14). For IOC, at the median pre-test probability of common bile duct stones of 0.35, the post-test probabilities associated with positive test results was 0.98 (95% CI 0.85 to 1.00) and negative test results was 0.01 (95% CI 0.00 to 0.10). There was weak evidence of a difference in sensitivity (P value = 0.05) with IOC showing higher sensitivity than ERCP. There was no evidence of a difference in specificity (P value = 0.7) with both tests having similar specificity.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Although the sensitivity of IOC appeared to be better than that of ERCP, this finding may be unreliable because none of the studies compared both tests in the same study populations and most of the studies were methodologically flawed. It appears that both tests were fairly accurate in guiding further invasive treatment as most people diagnosed with common bile duct stones by these tests had common bile duct stones. Some people may have common bile duct stones in spite of having a negative ERCP or IOC result. Such people may have to be re-tested if the clinical suspicion of common bile duct stones is very high because of their symptoms or persistently abnormal liver function tests. However, the results should be interpreted with caution given the limited quantity and quality of the evidence.

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