Background and aim: Endoscopic ultrasound-guided biliary drainage (EGBD) may be a safe, alternative technique to percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD) in patients who fail ERCP. However, it is currently unknown how both techniques compare in terms of efficacy, safety, and cost. The aims of this study were to compare efficacy, safety, and cost of EGBD to that of PTBD.
Methods: Jaundiced patients with distal malignant biliary obstruction who underwent EGBD or PTBD after failed ERCP were included. Technical success, clinical success, and adverse events between the two groups were compared.
Results: A total of 73 patients with failed ERCP subsequently underwent EGBD (n = 22) or PTBD (n = 51). Although technical success was higher in the PTBD group (100 vs. 86.4 %, p = 0.007), clinical success was equivalent (92.2 vs. 86.4 %, p = 0.40). PTBD was associated with higher adverse event rate (index procedure: 39.2 vs. 18.2 %; all procedures including reinterventions: 80.4 vs. 15.7 %). Stent patency and survival were equivalent between both groups. Total charges were more than two times higher in the PTBD group (p = 0.004) mainly due to significantly higher rate of reinterventions (80.4 vs. 15.7 %, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: EGBD and PTBD are comparably effective techniques for treatment of distal malignant biliary obstruction after failed ERCP. However, EGBD is associated with decreased adverse events rate and is significantly less costly due to the need for fewer reinterventions. Our results suggest that EGBD should be the technique of choice for treatment of these patients at institutions with experienced interventional endosonographers.