Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP): What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

After you have an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP), you probably will stay at the hospital or clinic for 1 to 2 hours. This will allow the medicine to wear off. You will be able to go home after your doctor or a nurse checks to make sure you are not having any problems. If you stay in the hospital overnight, you may go home the next day.

You may have a sore throat for a day or two after the procedure.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest as much as you need to after you go home.
  • You should be able to go back to your usual activities the day after the procedure.

Diet

  • Follow your doctor's directions for eating after the procedure.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • If you have a sore throat the next day, use an over-the-counter spray to numb your throat.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • You pass maroon or bloody stools.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or go to the emergency room if:

  • You have trouble swallowing.
  • You have belly pain.
  • Your stools are black and tar-like or have streaks of blood.
  • You are sick to your stomach and cannot drink fluids.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take your pain medicine.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your throat still hurts after a day or two.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: August 9, 2016