The 'sump syndrome' is a rare, late complication of choledochoenterostomies. We observed 13 patients with this syndrome. The clinical features included recurrent cholangitis, liver abscesses, and recurrent pancreatitis. Five patients were treated by surgery, eight patients endoscopically. Reviewing an average follow up period of 22 months (range 6-60) after therapeutic endoscopy and 57 months (range 1-126) after different surgical procedures, we conclude that endoscopic sphincterotomy with removal of the debris is as efficient a therapy of the 'sump syndrome' as surgical sphincteroplasty and entails a smaller risk for the patient. We therefore advocate that endoscopic papillotomy should first be tried in all cases of 'sump syndrome' in the absence of suprapapillary stricture of the bile ducts.
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