How It Feels
You may notice a brief, sharp burning or
stinging sensation when the IV is started in your arm. The
local anesthetic sprayed into your throat usually
tastes slightly bitter and will make your tongue and throat feel numb and
swollen. Some people report feeling as though they cannot breathe sometimes
because of the tube in their throat. This is a false sensation caused by the
anesthetic. There is always plenty of breathing space around the tube in your
mouth and throat. Remember to relax and take slow, deep breaths.
You may gag, feel nauseated or bloated, or have mild abdominal cramping
as the tube is moved. If the discomfort is severe, alert your doctor with an
agreed-upon signal or tap on the arm. Even though you won't be able to talk
during the test, you can still communicate.
The IV medicines will
make you feel sleepy, and you may not be able to remember much of what happens
during or for several hours after the test. You may have heavy eyelids,
difficulty speaking, a dry mouth, or blurred vision for several hours after the
You may have a flushing sensation when the contrast material
After the test
After the test, you may have gas
and feel bloated for a while. You may also have a tickling, dry throat, slight
hoarseness, or a mild sore throat for several days. Throat lozenges and
gargling with warm saltwater can help relieve your throat symptoms.
Because of the IV medicines used during this test, do not drink alcohol,
drive, or sign any legal documents for 24 hours after the test.
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram
(ERCP) is a test that does have some risks. Having this test may cause serious
problems, such as:
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Bleeding, which may occur if the pancreatic or bile
ducts are widened during the procedure or if biopsies are taken during the
- Infection of the bile ducts, which may occur if gallstones
- Infection of the blood (sepsis).
- An abnormal heart rhythm.
- A puncture of
the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, bile duct, or pancreatic duct. If this
happens, you will need to have surgery to repair the puncture.
- Problems caused by anesthesia.
After the test
After the test, call your doctor
immediately if you:
- Have nausea or vomiting.
- Have new or increased belly
- Develop a fever or chills.
- Feel short of
- Are dizzy or feel like you may faint.
People who have serious heart disease and older adults
who have other chronic diseases have a greater chance of having problems from this
test. Although complications are not common, talk to your doctor about your