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Mayo Clin Proc. 1998 Apr;73(4):380-5.

Ischemic cholangitis.

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  • Division of Anatomic Pathology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Ischemia-induced bile duct lesions have been collectively labeled as ischemic cholangitis. The biliary epithelium is dependent on arterial blood flow, unlike the hepatic parenchyma with its dual arterial and portal venous blood supply. As such, the biliary epithelium is susceptible to injury when arterial blood flow is compromised. This compromise can occur at the level of the major, named hepatic artery branches or at the microscopic, peribiliary capillary plexus level. Typically, ischemic cholangitis manifests as segmental strictures and cholangiectases with resultant mechanical impairment of bile flow and, occasionally, secondary infection of the biliary system. Ischemic cholangitis after liver transplantation is becoming an important problem and likely is attributable to numerous factors. Hepatic arterial infusion of chemotherapy and systemic vasculitis are other causes of ischemic cholangitis. The role of ischemia in other chronic biliary and ductopenic diseases remains speculative.

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