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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)

How It Feels

You may notice a brief, sharp burning or stinging when the IV is started in your arm. The local anesthetic sprayed into your throat usually tastes slightly bitter. It 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 belly cramps 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. You may not be able to remember much of what happens during or for several hours after the test. You may have heavy eyelids, trouble speaking, a dry mouth, or blurred vision for several hours after the test.

You may feel flushed when the contrast material is injected.

After the test

After the test, you may have gas and feel bloated for a while. You may also have a dry and tickling throat, slight hoarseness, or a mild sore throat for several days. Using throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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