Korean J Gastroenterol.  2021 May;77(5):253-257. 10.4166/kjg.2021.030.

Cannulation of the Portal Vein during Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography in a Patient with Choledocholithiasis

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Presbyterian Medical Center, Jeonju, Korea


Cannulation of the portal vein is a rare complication of ERCP. This paper reports a case of portal vein catheterization during ERCP in a patient with choledocholithiasis. A 62-year-old man was admitted to the Presbyterian Medical Center with right upper quadrant pain and jaundice. ERCP was performed under the suspicion of obstructive jaundice caused by a radiolucent stone. Bile duct cannulation using a pull-type papillotome was attempted, but it failed. After needle-knife fistulotomy, wire-guided cannulation was performed successfully, and 10 mL contrast was injected. On the other hand, the fluoroscopy image showed that the contrast medium disappeared very quickly. Pure blood was collected when the catheter was aspirated to identify the bile reflux, indicating possible cannulation of the portal vein. The procedure was terminated immediately and abdominal computed tomography showed air in the portal vein. One day after, a follow-up CT scan showed no air in the portal vein. The patient underwent repeated ERCP, and the common bile duct was cannulated. In most cases, isolated portal vein cannulation does not result in severe morbidity. However, it is important to aware of this rare complication so that no further invasive procedure is performed on the patient.


Cholangiopancreatography; endoscopic retrograde; Portal vein; Catheterization; Choledocholithiasis
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