Purpose: Endoscopic bile duct clearance is now the treatment of first choice for bile duct stones, particularly in elderly or high-risk patients. The purpose of this study was to objectively assess the safety, efficiency, and ease of use of percutaneous transhepatic choledochoscopy, using a small-caliber choledochoscope with a facilitated insertion technique, in high-risk elderly patients with choledocholithiasis.
Methods: Sixty-five consecutive patients with common bile duct stones scheduled for percutaneous transhepatic choledochoscopic lithotomy were studied prospectively. Choledochoscopy was carried out with a simplified introducer system, using a 2.8-mm choledochoscope with electrohydraulic lithotripsy.
Results: The common bile duct was successfully accessed and the stones removed in all 65 patients. The average time for the entire procedure was 45 min. There were no serious procedure-related complications.
Conclusions: Percutaneous transhepatic choledochoscopic lithotomy, using electrohydraulic lithotripsy, is an attractive alternative for patients with common bile duct stones when surgery or retrograde methods are not suitable.