Biliary strictures after liver transplantation

Gut Liver. 2011 Jun;5(2):133-42. doi: 10.5009/gnl.2011.5.2.133. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


Biliary strictures are one of the most common complications following liver transplantation, representing an important cause of morbidity and mortality in transplant recipients. The reported incidence of biliary stricture is 5% to 15% following deceased donor liver transplantations and 28% to 32% following living donor liver transplantations. Bile duct strictures following liver transplantation are easily and conveniently classified as anastomotic strictures (AS) or non-anastomotic strictures (NAS). NAS are characterized by a far less favorable response to endoscopic management, higher recurrence rates, graft loss and the need for retransplantation. Current endoscopic strategies to correct biliary strictures following liver transplantation include repeated balloon dilatations and the placement of multiple side-by-side plastic stents. Endoscopic balloon dilatation with stent placement is successful in the majority of AS patients. In patients for whom gaining biliary access is technically difficult, a combined endoscopic and percutaneous/surgical approach proves quite useful. Future directions, including novel endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography techniques, advanced endoscopy, and improved stents could allow for a decreased number of interventions, increased intervals before retreatment, and decreased reliance on percutaneous and surgical modalities. The aim of this review is to detail the present status of endoscopy in the diagnosis, treatment, outcome, and future directions of biliary strictures related to orthotopic liver transplantation from the viewpoint of a clinical gastroenterologists.

Keywords: Anastomotic strictures; Bile duct diseases; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Liver transplantation.