Methods: The efficacy of pancreatic stenting in the prevention of pancreatitis following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was evaluated by a meta-analysis of 6 controlled studies; 12 additional uncontrolled studies were analyzed for rates of associated risk. Results: Post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP) developed in 16.5% of controls, and in 5.1 or 9.6% of the stent group at the per-protocol (PP) or intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses. By analyzing only the 4 randomized trials, PEP developed in 24.1% of controls, and in 6.1 or 12.0% of the stented patients at the PP or ITT analyses. Risk was significantly lower in the stent group when compared with controls: OR 0.44 (95% CI 0.24–0.81). The absolute risk reduction is 12.0 (95% CI 3.0–21.0), the number needed to treat 8 (95% CI 5–34), and the publication bias 2. ORs for mild to moderate PEP were reduced in the stent group (OR = 0.537, 95% CI 0.283–1.021), as were those for severe PEP (OR = 0.123, 95% CI 0.021–0.726). Non-pancreatic complications were 4.2%, and included early stent migration (1.4%), perforations (0.4%), bleeding (1.4%), and infections (1.0%). Conclusion: Available trials show benefit for pancreatic stenting in the prophylaxis of PEP, but more randomized studies are needed before endorsing a routine use of this endoscopic procedure.

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