Whanganui Hospital surgical team re-introduces ERCP procedure

1 May 2017


Following a 10-year hiatus, Whanganui Hospital’s surgical team is once again performing the Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography (ERCP) procedure for patients with blocked bile ducts.


Using a flexible camera and x-ray examination of the main bile duct which drains bile from the liver to the small bowel, ERCP enables the surgical team to remove gallstones, take tissue samples and open up narrowed bile ducts using a stent (a small plastic or metal tube) to help the bile duct to drain.


In addition to improving the well-being of patients, having the procedure performed in Whanganui Hospital saves them and their families having to travel to Palmerston North, Taranaki or Wellington Hospitals.


WDHB chief medical officer Frank Rawlinson says the fact that patients can be discharged after one night’s stay in hospital, is another win-win for them and the DHB.


“A talented and dedicated team of Whanganui Hospital nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons have undertaken additional training to open up the opportunity for ERCP to be offered in Whanganui where we’re seeing good results,” Dr Rawlinson says.


“In the 10 months since June 2016, 28 patients have received ERCP treatment which an audit released last month shows has been positive for all concerned.


 “We aim to provide ERCP to local patients who have simple bile duct blockages. Patients with more complex situations will continue to be transferred to tertiary hospitals if that is most appropriate for their health.”