Postoperative biliary adverse events following orthotopic liver transplantation: assessment with magnetic resonance cholangiography

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Aug 28;20(32):11080-94. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i32.11080.


Biliary adverse events following orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) are relatively common and continue to be serious causes of morbidity, mortality, and transplant dysfunction or failure. The development of these adverse events is heavily influenced by the type of anastomosis during surgery. The low specificity of clinical and biologic findings makes the diagnosis challenging. Moreover, direct cholangiographic procedures such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography present an inadmissible rate of adverse events to be utilized in clinically low suspected patients. Magnetic resonance (MR) maging with MR cholangiopancreatography is crucial in assessing abnormalities in the biliary system after liver surgery, including liver transplant. MR cholangiopancreatography is a safe, rapid, non-invasive, and effective diagnostic procedure for the evaluation of biliary adverse events after liver transplantation, since it plays an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and management of these events. On the basis of a recent systematic review of the literature the summary estimates of sensitivity and specificity of MR cholangiopancreatography for diagnosis of biliary adverse events following OLT were 0.95 and 0.92, respectively. It can provide a non-invasive method of imaging surgical reconstruction of the biliary anastomoses as well as adverse events including anastomotic and non-anastomotic strictures, biliary lithiasis and sphincter of Oddi dysfunction in liver transplant recipients. Nevertheless, conventional T2-weighted MR cholangiography can be implemented with T1-weighted contrast-enhanced MR cholangiography using hepatobiliary contrast agents (in particular using Gd-EOB-DTPA) in order to improve the diagnostic accuracy in the adverse events' detection such as bile leakage and strictures, especially in selected patients with biliary-enteric anastomosis.

Keywords: Bile ducts; Biliary adverse events; Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance cholangiography; Liver transplantation; Magnetic resonance cholangiography.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomotic Leak / diagnosis
  • Anastomotic Leak / etiology
  • Bile Ducts / injuries
  • Bile Ducts / pathology*
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / pathology
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance*
  • Cholelithiasis / diagnosis
  • Cholelithiasis / etiology
  • Cholestasis / diagnosis
  • Cholestasis / etiology
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome