Comparison of sequential pancreatic duct guidewire placement technique and needle knife precut sphincterotomy for difficult biliary cannulation

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Pancreatic duct guidewire placement (PDGP) includes double guidewire technique (DGT) and transpancreatic sphincterotomy (TPS). DGT can be switched to TPS with ease due to the existing guidewire in the pancreatic duct. In this study, we aimed to combine DGT and TPS as a single technique, named sequential PDGP, and to compare its performance with needle knife precut sphincterotomy (NKPS) in treating difficult biliary cannulation (BC).


A total of 83 patients with difficult BC were enrolled in this study. Of these, 63 underwent sequential PDGP and 20 underwent NKPS. Cannulation success rate, cannulation time and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-related complications were prospectively recorded and compared between the two groups.


Successful BC was achieved in 88.9% (56/63) of the patients in the sequential PDGP group compared with 70.0% (14/20) in the NKPS group (P = 0.095). Cannulation time was 7.49 ± 5.03 min in the sequential PDGP group and 10.60 ± 7.24 min in the NKPS group (P = 0.086). Post-ERCP pancreatitis occurred in 12.7% of patients in the sequential PDGP group and 10.0% in the NKPS group (P = 1.000). There was no significant difference in the rates of other complications (bleeding, perforation and cholangitis) between the two groups.


Sequential PDGP is a safe and effective alternative method to NKPS in cases of difficult BC. In those with failed standard cannulation, sequential PDGP can be considered when the guidewire is inadvertently inserted into the pancreatic duct or can be placed in the pancreatic duct without difficulty.

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