Biliary complications following liver transplantation in the model for end-stage liver disease era: effect of donor, recipient, and technical factors

Liver Transpl. 2008 Jan;14(1):73-80. doi: 10.1002/lt.21354.


Biliary complications remain a significant problem following liver transplantation in the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) era. We hypothesized that donor, recipient, and technical variables may differentially affect anastomotic biliary complications in MELD era liver transplants. We reviewed 256 deceased donor liver transplants after the institution of MELD at our center and evaluated these variables' association with anastomotic biliary complications. The bile leak rate was 18%, and the stricture rate was 23%. Univariate analysis revealed that recipient age, MELD, donor age, and warm ischemia were risk factors for leak, whereas a Roux limb or stent was protective. A bile leak was a risk factor for anastomotic stricture, whereas use of histidine tryptophan ketoglutarate (HTK) versus University of Wisconsin (UW) solution was protective. Additionally, use of a transcystic tube/stent was also protective. Multivariate analysis showed that warm ischemia was the only independent risk factor for a leak, whereas development of a leak was the only independent risk factor for a stricture. HTK versus UW use and transcystic tube/stent use were the only independent protective factors against stricture. Use of an internal stent trended in the multivariate analysis toward being protective against leaks and strictures, but this was not quite statistically significant. This represents one of the first MELD era studies of deceased donor liver transplants evaluating factors affecting the incidence of anastomotic bile leaks and strictures. Donor, recipient, and technical factors appear to differentially affect the incidence of anastomotic biliary complications, with warm ischemia, use of HTK, and use of a stent emerging as the most important variables.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Bile Ducts / surgery*
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / surgery
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Failure / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors*