ERCP Warning!

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On Thursday, i had an ERCP procedure to remove bile duct stones. Accorging to the pre-procedure info. they "sedate" the pateint to rlax them prior to beginning. Unfortunatlely for me, they didn't give me nearly enough "sedation"- they don't seem to have checked if I might need more!- so I was totally aware all the way through, and felt absolutely everything, which was toally horrific! I got back to the ward, wide awake-obviously- and in severe pain and was also being sick. I was later seen by the endoscopist, who told me my pain and sickness were due to pancreatitis and who gave me painkillers, anti-biotics, and no food for a couple of days. The pain is much less now, but I finish the anti-biotics today & am hoping the pancreatitis is gone, so I can start to recover. After this horrorshow, I'm seriously worrying about having my gallbladder taken out, although they've told me it's necessary. How can I be sure I won't feel that being removed, too? And reading the many comments on here, I'm concerned I'll still have multiple symptoms afterwards, anyway, so is it worth it? 

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  • Posted

    I had two ERCPs. The first went exactly as they said. The second didn't: they gave me less sedation and instead of it taking twenty minutes, it went on for an hour. They 'lost' the stent they were trying to remove and didn't have access to some equipment that could have helped. I was conscious through most of it, though I went to sleep towards the end- I'd just had enough by then. I woke up in tears. Frankly I'd rather have surgery with a general anaesthetic and be blissfully unaware. It was a horrible experience so I can sympathise with you.

    I then had open cholecystectomy followed five weeks later by a liver resection and was out for the count during both. The difference being that the anaesthetist stays with you throughout surgery and is constantly monitoring your level of consciousness and topping up the anaesthesia where necessary. The horror stories you hear about people being awake during surgery are extremely rare.

    As to whether it was worth it - definitely YES! If you hang on to a sick bladder it will only deteriorate. It will not get better. Initially you may be able to control pain and other symptoms through eating a low fat diet but, in the long run, you put yourself at risk of jaundice, sepsis, peritonitis (the gallbladder can rupture) and liver and pancreatic issues etc etc etc. Any surgery carries risk, but deferring surgery is riskier.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying so proptly. Interesting to hear you had a similar expereience to mine. I'm told some people are genetiacally programmed to be more "drug resistant" than others-Celts/norse heritage especially- and so need more sedation /anasthesia to get the same "knockout" effect as others- but sometimes docs don't seem to take this into account %& give all the same mount, regardless. My daughter had an epidural which didn't suppress pain, and so she felt everything during her C-Section 9years ago- presuambly for the same reason. 

      ?I suspect you're right about the gallbladder having to come out- but I definitely now want a lot more info. from the consultant who's doing it on possible complications, side effects etc. and typical recovery programme timetable- though I know these things can't be definitively stated. At the moment, all I got was a 3 minute interview, in which the consultant said, "Your g.B. needs removing. I'll see you after you've had the ERCP to get rid of the bile duct stones- and nothing else! although I'd read the ERCP leaflets thoroughly and watched the video demonstating the process, I'd assumed "sedated" meant "knocked out" whereas I was obviously wrong! This time round, I want to avoid any nasty surprises and so am determined to get more info. out of the consultant pre-procedure- surely he ought to be more forthcoming about what'll happen than he has been?

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    • Posted

      p.s. after either/both ercps- did you get an episode of acute pancreatiits after, as I've done?

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    • Posted

      I think you need to tell your surgeon and anaesthetist about your ERCP experience. You should see an anaesthetist at your pre op. When I had a wisdom tooth out, I needed three lots of Novocain before I couldn't feel pain. Dentist warned me it'd make my heart race. Can't understand why they didn't give me the same dose of sedation for second ERCP as I had for first.

      I didn't experience any pain after either ERCP. Once the instruments were withdrawn, I was ok- could feel where the instruments had been, - discomfort but no pain. Settled down after a day anyway. No sickness at all.

      Almost all my pain was right sided and therefore gallbladder related.

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    • Posted

      Thank you! Your advice and prior experience is incredibly useful to have. I think i might also suggest to my local Trust that they refer future patients to these forums pre-procedures to get information from people who've had the surgery done, rather than trying to rely on info. from those who perform the procedures, as at present, since it's so minimal!

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    • Posted

      That's quite a good idea Elizabeth, but having worked within the NHS, I can't see them going for it. Basically it is left to patients to find out for themselves. Most of the leaflets I was supplied with, were out of date or not quite about the particular procedure I was about to have. Thinking of asking hubby to build a bookcase to house all the stuff I accumulated!!!

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    • Posted

      (sigh) yes, I'm afraid you're right. It's just as well we have sites like this to look at and helpful pepole like you on them!

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