Endoscopic ultrasound-guided biliary drainage of hilar biliary obstruction

J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Sci. 2015 Sep;22(9):664-8. doi: 10.1002/jhbp.271. Epub 2015 Jul 15.


Only 20-30% of patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma (CC) are candidates for potentially curative resection. However, even after curative (R0) resection, these patients have a disease recurrence rate of up to 76%. The prognosis of hilar cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is limited by tumor spread along the biliary tree leading to obstructive jaundice, cholangitis, and liver failure. Therefore, palliative biliary drainage may be a major goal for patients with hilar CC. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with stent placement is an established method for palliation of patients with malignant biliary obstruction. However, there are patients for whom endoscopic stent placement is not possible because of failed biliary cannulation or tumor infiltration that limits transpapillary access. In this situation, percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD) is an alternative method. However, PTBD has a relatively high rate of complications and is frequently associated with patient discomfort related to external drainage. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided biliary drainage has therefore been introduced as an alternative to PTBD in cases of biliary obstruction when ERCP is unsuccessful. In this review, the indications, technical tips, outcomes, and the future role of EUS-guided intrahepatic biliary drainage, such as hepaticogastrostomy or hepaticoduodenostomy, for hilar biliary obstruction will be summarized.

Keywords: Biliary obstruction; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Endoscopic ultrasound-guided biliary drainage; Endoscopic ultrasound-guided hepaticogastrostomy; Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / complications
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Cholestasis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholestasis* / etiology
  • Cholestasis* / surgery
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods*
  • Endosonography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Klatskin Tumor* / complications
  • Klatskin Tumor* / diagnosis
  • Klatskin Tumor* / surgery
  • Palliative Care
  • Stents
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*