Vanishing bile duct syndrome after drug-induced liver injury

Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2022 Nov;46(9):102015. doi: 10.1016/j.clinre.2022.102015. Epub 2022 Sep 5.


Background: Vanishing bile duct syndrome (VBDS) is a serious cholestatic liver disease that can be a complication of drug-induced liver injury (DILI). While journals have published case reports of this condition, large studies on a cohort of these patients are lacking. We aimed to compile published case reports and case series of patients with VBDS and DILI to describe the clinical and laboratory characteristics of the disease and identify factors associated with good and poor outcomes.

Methods: We included case reports and case series of VBDS secondary only to DILI. We extracted demographic, clinical, laboratory, treatment, and exposure data from each case report and categorized cases by outcome, good versus poor. We defined poor outcomes as cases with severe long-term complications or death. We analyzed risk factors for poor outcomes using logistic regression.

Results: We identified a total of 59 eligible cases. Of those, 39 (59%) were female, the median age was 36 (IQR:12-58), and 18 (31%) were pediatric cases (≤18 years). The most common offending drug class was antibiotics, especially beta-lactams. Patients with increased total bilirubin (OR=4.69; 95% CI=1.55-15.49; p = 0.008), increased direct bilirubin (OR=6.50; 95% CI=1.34-48.91; p = 0.034), lower liver synthetic activity (OR=0.11; 95% CI=0.02-0.55; p = 0.013), and older age (OR=3.31; 95% CI=1.15-10.04; p = 0.029) were more likely to develop poor outcomes.

Conclusions: In patients with VBDS and DILI, antibiotics were the most common offending agents. Higher total and direct bilirubin levels were associated with poor outcomes.

Keywords: Beta-lactams; Cholestasis; Drug therapy; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Bile Ducts
  • Bilirubin
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / etiology
  • Child
  • Cholestasis* / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Bilirubin
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents