Efficacy of Endotherapy in the Treatment of Pain Associated With Chronic Pancreatitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background Endotherapy is a treatment modality that can be used to manage the pain associated with chronic pancreatitis. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to evaluate the efficacy of endotherapy in the management of pain associated with chronic pancreatitis. Methods A search of Medline, Pubmed, and Embase databases between 1988 to December 2014 was conducted to evaluate the use of endotherapy for pain relief in patients with chronic pancreatitis. We included large prospective studies, randomized controlled trials and retrospective analyses. Exclusion criteria included studies not written in the English language, small studies with less than 10 patients, case series/case reports and studies that enrolled patients treated with dual therapies including surgery or celiac plexus neurolysis. In addition, a subgroup analysis was conducted to evaluate studies that included patients with pancreatic duct strictures. A meta-analysis was performed and the data on pain relief was subsequently extracted, pooled, and analyzed. I2 index estimates were calculated to test for variability and heterogeneity across the included studies. Results Our final analysis included sixteen studies, comprising 1498 patients. Eleven studies presented data on immediate pain relief after endotherapy and twelve studies presented data on both immediate and long term pain relief (mean follow up was 47.4 months). The compiled result of the sixteen studies for immediate pain relief demonstrated 88% efficacy (95% NT CI [81.0%, 94%]) of endotherapy. Similarly, analysis of pain relief on long term follow-up showed a 67% efficacy of endotherapy (95% NT CI [58%, 76%]). The compiled complication rate for endotherapy in this review was 7.85% per ERCP/endotherapeutic procedure and the most common complications were acute pancreatitis, stent occlusion and stent migration. Conclusions Endotherapy is beneficial for both immediate and long term management of pain associated with chronic pancreatitis. The efficacy of endotherapy decreases over time as assessed by evaluating pain relief on long term follow up. Given the considerable heterogeneity of reported data, additional prospective and standardized multicenter studies need to be conducted to evaluate the efficacy of this modality in controlling pain associated with chronic pancreatitis.


Mikram Jafri, Sadiq Javed, Amit Sachdev, David Lee, Ting Taur, Adam Goodman, Frank Gress

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