Endoscopic treatment of bile duct complications after orthotopic liver transplantation

Transplant Proc. Jul-Aug 2007;39(6):1942-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2007.05.053.


Aim: To assess the indications and results of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) in patients who have undergone ortotopic liver transplantation (OLT).

Methods: We reviewed data from 42 consecutive patients who underwent ERCP for biliary complications after OLT over an 8-year period, in particular recording indications and success of the treatment after a mean of 17 months follow-up.

Results: Cholangiograms performed in 33/42 patients (79%) displayed anastomotic strictures in 17 patients (52%), bile duct stones in 8 (24%), both bile duct stones and an anastomotic stricture in 2 (6%), papillary stenosis in 1 (3%), and anastomotic biliary leakage in 1 (3%). In contrast, the contrastogram was normal in four patients (12%). Stone extraction was completed in 9/10 patients (90%) with a mean of 1.2 sessions, while stricture dilation was achieved in 12/19 patients (63%) after a mean of 1.7 sessions, by stent positioning (n = 7), balloon dilation (n = 4), or Soehendra dilator (n = 1). Both biliary leakage and papillary stenosis were cured by ERCP. Only one procedure-related complication -- severe pancreatitis (2.4%) -- was observed and no mortality.

Conclusion: ERCP is a safe and effective mode of management of bile duct complications after OLT. It should be attempted before a surgical approach. Better results are obtained for treatment of biliary stones than of anastomotic strictures.

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Bile Duct Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Bile Duct Diseases / surgery
  • Bile Duct Diseases / therapy
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde
  • Gallbladder / surgery
  • Gallstones / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies