Pioneering endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in a Sub Saharan African hospital: A case series

Background and study aims
Although endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was introduced in Europe, Asia and America over four decades ago, East Africa and Africa as a whole has been slow in taking up this very important minimally invasive procedure for the management of various hepatopancreaticobiliary conditions. This has led to reliance on open surgery for even simple benign biliary strictures, stones and malignant causes of biliary and pancreatic duct obstruction that can be treated endoscopically without a need for a morbid open surgical intervention. In Uganda, ERCP was introduced in January 2017 after obtaining training and equipment support from Senior Experten Service (SES), German. We therefore report the first six cases of ERCP performed at our endoscopy unit.

Patients and methods
This is a case series report of six patients referred with yellowing of eyes and body itching as the main complaints. They predominantly had raised gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total bilirubin and direct bilirubin. They also had different imaging investigations demonstrating hepatic ducts dilatation.

Four out of the six patients had complete post ERCP symptom resolution. One patient had partial symptom resolution and the other patient recovered after conversion to open surgery.

Collaborative skills transfer made ERCP feasible in our institute and this marked the start of this specialised service in Uganda.