Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

What is the test?

This procedure uses x-rays and an endoscope to see inside your digestive system and diagnose problems such as tumors, gallstones, and inflammation in your liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, or pancreas. Your doctor might use the test to investigate the cause of jaundice, upper abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss.

How do I prepare for the test?

For a week before the test, don't take aspirin or other NSAIDs because they can irritate the stomach lining and increase your chance of bleeding during the procedure. Also tell the doctor if you are taking blood-thinning medicines or any diabetes medications. People with heart valve problems may also have to take antibiotics before the procedure. Avoid eating or drinking anything for eight hours before the test because it needs to be done on an empty stomach.

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to iodine, which is used for the procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home because the medication given during the test will make you drowsy.

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