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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 18, Issue 10, Pages 619-624
Original Article

Patterns of Use of Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography in a Canadian Province

Robert J Hilsden,1,2 Joseph Romagnuolo,1,2 and Gary R May1

1Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received 18 February 2004; Accepted 19 July 2004

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Data on current endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) practice patterns drawn from large population-based samples are limited.

METHODS: Patterns of ERCP use were determined using billing records for ERCP, sphincterotomy, stone extraction or stent placement performed between April 1, 1994 and March 31, 2002 in Alberta from a population-based administrative database. Age-sex adjusted rates (per 1000 population) were calculated using the 1991 Canadian population as the standard.

RESULTS: The eight-year average ERCP rate was 0.98 without evidence of an increasing or decreasing trend over time. The ERCP rate was 0.85 in men and 1.12 in women. Significant regional variation in ERCP rates was seen, ranging from a low of 0.64 to a high of 1.27. The proportion of procedures that were therapeutic increased from 33% in 1994 to 70% in 2001. The likelihood of a procedure being considered therapeutic varied with the age and sex of the patient as well as the health region in which the procedure was performed.

CONCLUSIONS: The ERCP rate remained relatively stable over an eight-year time period, but the proportion of procedures that were therapeutic increased dramatically. Important regional variation in ERCP rates and therapeutic procedures exists.