Endoscopic sphincterotomy in patients with liver cirrhosis

Gastrointest Endosc. 1996 Feb;43(2 Pt 1):127-31. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5107(06)80114-8.


Background: Nonsurgical alternatives in biliary diseases have not been studied in large series of patients with cirrhosis. Our aim was to determine the indications and results of endoscopic treatment in this subset of patients.

Methods: Fifty-two patients (36 men, 16 women-Child-Pugh Class A, 18; B, 22; C, 12) aged 63 +/- 18 years underwent endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) between 1988 and 1993. Antibiotic prophylaxis was routinely carried out and coagulopathy was corrected before ES when required. The data were collected retrospectively up to 30 days after ES.

Results: ES succeeded in 98% of the patients (12 cases of needle-knife papillotomy). Twenty-nine patients (55.7%) had choledocholithiasis, 18 had biliary strictures (12 malignant), and 5 had pancreatic or other biliary diseases. Five days after ES, morbidity was 13.5% and mortality was 7.7%. At 1 month, morbidity was 22.9% and mortality 12.5%. Only endoscopic procedures and Ineffective drainage were seen to be significant risk factors or morbidity. The results of the subgroup of cirrhotic patients with choledocholithiasis (n = 29) were compared with those of matched noncirrhotic patients (n = 58). The cirrhotic and noncirrhotic patients treated for choledocholithiasis showed similar results for stone clearance, morbidity, and mortality.

Conclusion: ES is a safe and effective procedure for treating choledocholithiasis in cirrhotic patients. ES can therefore be considered as an alternative to surgery in Child class A and B patients and must be preferred for Child class C patients with life-threatening biliary complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sphincterotomy, Endoscopic* / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome