Preoperative external biliary drainage in obstructive jaundice. A prospective controlled clinical trial

Lancet. 1982 Oct 23;2(8304):896-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(82)90866-2.


57 patients with obstructive jaundice were randomly allocated to surgery with preoperative external biliary drainage (29 patients) and without preoperative external biliary drainage (28 patients). 22 patients ultimately underwent laparotomy after a mean of 11.7 days of drainage and 25 had surgery without preoperative drainage. The postoperative complication rate was low and similar in both groups but complications associated with the drainage procedure were substantial. Perioperative mortality was 4/28 (14%) in the drainage group and 4/27 (15%) in the non-drainage group. There seems to be no advantage associated with routine preoperative external biliary drainage before surgery for obstructive jaundice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Biliary Tract Surgical Procedures*
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Cholestasis / blood
  • Cholestasis / mortality
  • Cholestasis / surgery*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drainage / adverse effects
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation


  • Bilirubin