Nonanastomotic biliary strictures after liver transplantation, part 2: Management, outcome, and risk factors for disease progression

Liver Transpl. 2007 May;13(5):725-32. doi: 10.1002/lt.21165.


Nonanastomotic biliary strictures (NAS) after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) are associated with high retransplant rates. The aim of the present study was to describe the treatment of and identify risk factors for radiological progression of bile duct abnormalities, recurrent cholangitis, biliary cirrhosis, and retransplantation in patients with NAS. We retrospectively studied 81 cases of NAS. Strictures were classified according to severity and location. Management of strictures was recorded. Possible prognostic factors for bacterial cholangitis, radiological progression of strictures, development of severe fibrosis/cirrhosis, graft survival, and patient survival were evaluated. Median follow-up after OLT was 7.9 years. NAS were most prevalent in the extrahepatic bile duct. Twenty-eight patients (35%) underwent some kind of interventional treatment, leading to a marked improvement in biochemistry. Progression of disease was noted in 68% of cases with radiological follow-up. Radiological progression was more prevalent in patients with early NAS and one or more episodes of bacterial cholangitis. Recurrent bacterial cholangitis (>3 episodes) was more prevalent in patients with a hepaticojejunostomy. Severe fibrosis or cirrhosis developed in 23 cases, especially in cases with biliary abnormalities in the periphery of the liver. Graft survival, but not patient survival, was influenced by the presence of NAS. Thirteen patients (16%) were retransplanted for NAS. In conclusion, especially patients with a hepaticojejunostomy, those with an early diagnosis of NAS, and those with NAS presenting at the level of the peripheral branches of the biliary tree, are at risk for progressive disease with severe outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Bile Duct Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Bile Duct Diseases / pathology
  • Bile Duct Diseases / therapy*
  • Cholangiography
  • Cholangitis / epidemiology
  • Cholangitis / etiology
  • Cholangitis / microbiology
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome