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J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2006;13(6):511-6. Epub 2006 Nov 30.

Intrahepatic biliary strictures after liver transplantation.

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University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, Highland Professional Building, 1801 N.W. 9th Avenue, Suite 514, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Biliary complication has been one of the most common complications after liver transplantation. Nonanastomotic strictures and dilatations involving the intrahepatic biliary tree have been recognized as biliary complications. These lesions were reported to be associated with hepatic artery thrombosis; prolonged preservation time; ABO-incompatible organs; and immunological injury, including injuries to vascular endothelial cells (chronic rejection) and the bile duct (primary sclerosing cholangitis). However, the etiology of these lesions appeared to be mostly related to ischemic injury. Anatomical research on the arterial supply of the bile duct has provided further insights into bile duct blood supply and its surgical implications. The biliary tract is supplied with arterial blood by a vasculature called the peribiliary vascular plexus. Any injury to the peribiliary vascular plexus may contribute to ischemic death of the biliary system mucosa. At many points, the process of liver transplantation exposes the endothelial cells and peribiliary vascular plexus to ischemic injury. The majority of intrahepatic biliary strictures (IHBS) are diffuse or bilateral. A percutaneous or an endoscopic approach has been used as the initial treatment. However, a low threshold for surgical intervention (retransplantation) should be adopted, because these patients demonstrate high mortality. The aim of this article is to review the anatomy, etiology, clinical picture, diagnosis, management, and prognosis of IHBS after liver transplantation.

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