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An approach to suspected gallstone pancreatitis'based on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) was adopted in 1976 and was followed in 29 patients. ERCp became the routine method of early biliary tract assessment when gallstone pancreatitis was suspected on clinical and biochemical grounds, and further management was based on ERCP findings. If calculi were detected in the common bile duct (13 cases) ES was performed; when calculi were confined to the gallbladder (12 cases) cholecystectomy was advised; and if no calculi were detected on ERCP (4 cases) investigations were continued. ERCP proved to be a reliable guide to management, while ES provided safe and effective symptomatic relief when choledocholithiasis was present, and prevented recurrence of pancreatitis even when the gallbladder remained in situ.