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Transplant Proc. 2005 Mar;37(2):1129-30.

Cost/efficacy clinical trial about the use of T-tube in cadaveric donor liver transplant: preliminary results.

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  • 1Liver Transplantation Unit, ICMDM, Hospital Clinic i Provincial, Barcelona, Spain.


Biliary reconstruction is the most common cause of morbidity associated with orthotopic liver transplantation. Our objective was to assess the complications and hospital resources related to the use of a T-tube.


Among 95 liver transplants performed from October 2002 to November 2003, 84 patients were randomized to receive a T-tube or no T-tube. We analyzed all patients with a follow-up of at least of 3 months.


Fifty-five transplants were analyzed with 8 months mean follow-up, including twenty eight with T-tube and twenty seven without a T-tube. No patient died during the follow-up. The overall rate of biliary complications was 45.4% (25/55) including 21/28 (75%) in the T-tube group and 4/27(14.8%) in the non-T-tube group (P < .0001). Complications related to T-tube extraction occurred in 48.2% (13/27), including 3 cholangitis and 10 leaks. The costs of hospital resources due to radiological studies were 5329 capital JE, Ukrainian for the T-tube group vs 5785 capital JE, Ukrainian for the non-T-tube group. The costs of hospital resources due to treatment were 28,280 capital JE, Ukrainian for the T-tube group vs 10,088 capital JE, Ukrainian for the non-T-tube group.


Use of a T-tube during orthotopic liver transplantation does not seem justified. Biliary anastomosis stenting is followed by an increased incidence of complications, most of which are related to its use. Hospital stay, radiological studies, and cost of hospital resources are higher among the T-tube patients. Therefore its systematic use is not advisable.

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