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Liver Transpl. 2000 Mar;6(2):201-6.

Results of choledochojejunostomy in the treatment of biliary complications after liver transplantation in the era of nonsurgical therapies.

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  • 1Hepatobiliary and Liver Transplantation Unit, Royal Free Hospital and Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.


Advances in radiological and endoscopic techniques have allowed many biliary complications after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) to be managed without surgery. The influence of nonsurgical management on the outcome of patients requiring surgical revision has not been addressed. We reviewed our 10-year experience (October 1988 to January 1998) of Roux-en-Y choledochojejunostomy (CDJ) to treat biliary complications after OLT. Forty-six patients underwent CDJ for biliary complications (32 men, 14 women; age, 22 to 65 years; median, 60 years). Biliary reconstruction at the time of OLT was duct to duct in 41 patients, primary CDJ in 3 patients, and gall bladder conduit in 2 patients. T-tubes were used only in patients with gallbladder conduit. The indication for CDJ was biliary leak (23 patients), stricture (20 patients), biliary stones (2 patients), and biliary sludge (1 patient). Two patients (4.3%) had associated hepatic artery thrombosis. The bile leaks were diagnosed at a median of 29 days post-OLT (range, 2 to 65 days) and strictures at a median of 2 years (range, 33 days to 6.5 years) post-OLT. Before surgery, 25 patients (54%) underwent an attempt at radiological or endoscopic therapeutic intervention that failed. Median follow-up was 5 years (range, 9 months to 10 years). Early complications occurred in 12 patients (26%); the most common was chest infection (4 patients). There were 3 perioperative deaths (6%); 1 death was directly related to surgery. Late complications, mainly anastomotic strictures, occurred in 10 patients (22%), half of which were successfully treated by biliary balloon dilatation. The complication rate post-CDJ was less in those who underwent a failed nonsurgical approach than those proceeding straight to surgery (9 of 25 patients; 36% v 13 of 21 patients; 62%; P =.21, not significant). The procedure-related mortality for surgical revision of biliary complications after OLT is low, but early and late complications are common. A failed attempt at nonsurgical management does not increase the complications of reconstructive surgery. Strictures after CDJ should be considered for biliary balloon dilatation.

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