Fifty one patients (median age 78, range 54-92) who had endoscopic sphincterotomy for gall stone pancreatitis without planned cholecystectomy were followed up to assess the effectiveness of this treatment in preventing further acute pancreatitis. In 48 patients sphincterotomy was technically successful and none had further acute pancreatitis after a mean follow up of 26.9 months. In three patients sphincterotomy was incomplete and two developed recurrent pancreatitis. These results suggest that endoscopic sphincterotomy alone is an acceptable alternative to cholecystectomy in the prevention of further attacks of acute pancreatitis in the elderly.
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