Antimicrobial therapy of 3 days or less is sufficient after successful ERCP for acute cholangitis

Sylke Haal*, Britt ten Böhmer, Sebastiaan Balkema, Annekatrien C.T.M. Depla, Paul Fockens, Jeroen M. Jansen, Sjoerd D. Kuiken, Boris I. Liberov, Ellert van Soest, Jeanin E. van Hooft, Elske Sieswerda, Rogier P. Voermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Recommendations for the duration of antimicrobial therapy in cholangitis after successful endoscopic biliary drainage vary. The aim of this study was to compare the occurrence of local infectious complications in patients with acute cholangitis treated with antibiotics for 3 days or less compared with 4 days or more. Methods: We performed a retrospective multicentre study in seven hospitals in the Netherlands. Patients who received a successful biliary drainage by endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography because of cholangitis due to common bile duct stones between 2012 and 2017 were included. The primary outcome was the occurrence of a local infectious complication within 3 months of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography. Secondary outcomes included Clostridioides difficile infection, total length of hospital stay and all-cause mortality. Results: A total of 426 patients with cholangitis were identified and 296 patients met all inclusion criteria. Therapy duration was ≤3 days in 137 patients (46.3%). During follow-up, 41 patients (13.9%) developed a local infectious complication. Occurrence of infectious complications did not differ between the two groups (p = 0.32). No patient developed Clostridioides difficile infection. Median hospital stay was 6 days (interquartile range 4–8 days) in the short antibiotic group compared with 7 days (interquartile range 5–9 days) in the long group (p = 0.03). Four (1.4%) patients died during follow-up, all were treated for ≥4 days (p = 0.13). Conclusions: Antimicrobial therapy of 3 days or less seems to be sufficient after successful biliary drainage in patients with acute cholangitis. Randomized trials should confirm our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalUnited European Gastroenterology Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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