Treatment of hydatid disease of the liver. Evaluation of a UK experience

Dig Surg. 2004;21(3):227-33; discussion 233-4. doi: 10.1159/000079492. Epub 2004 Jun 30.


Background: Hydatid disease of the liver though endemic in many countries, is rare in the UK. We evaluated a 16-year experience of treating hydatidosis using a management protocol combining surgery with anti-scolicidals.

Patients and methods: There were 30 patients. 14 (47%) males, median age 41 (range 25-72) years, of whom 21 (70%) were symptomatic. Diagnosis was by serological tests and imaging. All had disease confined to the liver and received peri-operative anti-scolicidal drug therapy.

Results: The initial 4 (13%) patients received praziquantel combined with albendazole for 2 weeks and the following 26 (87%) patients received two cycles of albendazole 400 mg twice daily for 28 days, with a 14-day break in between. However, 2 (7%) patients could not tolerate albendazole, one due to GI side effects and the other developed deranged liver functions. These 2 patients subsequently received praziquantel for 2 weeks. All patients underwent surgery. Subtotal cystectomy was carried out on 29 (96%) patients and 1 patient required a segmentectomy. Cystobiliary communications were identified in 15 (50%) of patients which were oversewn using fine absorbable sutures. Of these, 7 had the bile ducts decompressed using a T tube, with only 1 developing a post-operative bile leak. In comparison, 8 were not drained of which 6 leaked (p = 0.03). The median post-operative hospital stay was 8 days (range 5-24). Patients who developed post-operative bile leaks, however, needed prolonged abdominal drainage for a median of 21 days (range 18-24). Two (7%) patients developed histologically proven recurrent disease. The median follow-up was 56 months (range 3-87).

Conclusion: Surgery combined with anti-scolicidal therapy proved effective. Cystobiliary communications are common and, when identified, should result in the biliary system being drained, to avoid post-operative bile leaks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use*
  • Bile
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Drainage
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / diagnosis
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / drug therapy*
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / surgery*
  • England
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Praziquantel / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Anthelmintics
  • Praziquantel
  • Albendazole