Endoscopy 2001; 33(11): 976-980
DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-17918
Original Article
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

First Cut, Then Blend: An Electrocautery Technique Affecting Bleeding at Sphincterotomy

A. Gorelick, M. Cannon, J. Barnett, W. Chey, J. Scheiman, G. Elta
  • Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
18 October 2001 (online)

Background and Study Aims: The use of pure cut electrocautery current for endoscopic sphincterotomy lowers pancreatitis rates following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), but at the expense of greater localized bleeding which partially obscures the endoscopic view. We hypothesized that localized bleeding could be decreased by using blended current at the end of the sphincterotomy, without losing the benefit associated with pure cut current of lower post-ERCP pancreatitis benefit.

Patients and Methods: Patients undergoing sphincterotomy were randomly allocated to receive pure cut current alone or a sequential combination of pure cut then blended current. In the sequential combination patients, the first 75 - 80 % of the sphincterotomy was done using pure cut current at 30 W and the remainder completed at a blend 2 setting (pure cut plus coagulation current), also at 30 W.

Results: 142 patients were enrolled in the study. No statistical difference was noted between the two groups in the rates of overall pancreatitis or bleeding requiring transfusion. When comparing visible bleeding rates (more than a few drops), we found that there was significantly more bleeding (P < 0.05) in the pure cut group (31/75, 41 %) at the time of sphincterotomy compared with the sequential combination group (16/67, 23 %).

Conclusions: A sequential combination of pure cut and blended current for sphincterotomy caused less visible bleeding than pure cut alone. This occurred without a change in the rate of post-ERCP pancreatitis.


G. H. Elta, M.D.

Division of Gastroenterology
Dept. of Internal Medicine

3912 Taubman Center, Box 0362
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0362

Fax: + 1-734-936-7392

Email: gelta@umich.edu