Efficacy and Safety of Digital Single-Operator Cholangioscopy for Difficult Biliary Stones

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Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

It is not clear whether digital single-operator cholangioscopy (D-SOC) with electrohydraulic and laser lithotripsy is effective in removal of difficult biliary stones. We investigated the safety and efficacy of D-SOC with electrohydraulic and laser lithotripsy in an international, multicenter study of patients with difficult biliary stones.

METHODS:

We performed a retrospective analysis of 407 patients (60.4% female; mean age, 64.2 years) who underwent D-SOC for difficult biliary stones at 22 tertiary centers in the United States, United Kingdom, or Korea from February 2015 through December 2016; 306 patients underwent electrohydraulic lithotripsy and 101 (24.8%) underwent laser lithotripsy. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed to identify factors associated with technical failure and the need for more than 1 D-SOC electrohydraulic or laser lithotripsy session to clear the bile duct.

RESULTS:

The mean procedure time was longer in the electrohydraulic lithotripsy group (73.9 minutes) than in the laser lithotripsy group (49.9 minutes;P< .001). Ducts were completely cleared (technical success) in 97.3% of patients (96.7% of patients with electrohydraulic lithotripsy vs 99% patients with laser lithotripsy;P= .31). Ducts were cleared in a single session in 77.4% of patients (74.5% by electrohydraulic lithotripsy and 86.1% by laser lithotripsy;P= .20). Electrohydraulic or laser lithotripsy failed in 11 patients (2.7%); 8 patients were treated by surgery. Adverse events occurred in 3.7% patients and the stone was incompletely removed from 6.6% of patients. On multivariable analysis, difficult anatomy or cannulation (duodenal diverticula or altered anatomy) correlated with technical failure (odds ratio, 5.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.26–21.2;P= .02). Procedure time increased odds of more than 1 session of D-SOC electrohydraulic or laser lithotripsy (odds ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.03;P< .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

In a multicenter, international, retrospective analysis, we found D-SOC with electrohydraulic or laser lithotripsy to be effective and safe in more than 95% of patients with difficult biliary stones. Fewer than 5% of patients require additional treatment with surgery and/or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy to clear the duct.

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