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Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2007 Feb;6(1):29-33.

Endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of biliary leak in patients following liver transplantation: a prospective clinical study.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China.



Orthotopic liver transplantation has been widely used in patients with end-stage liver disease within the last two decades. However, the prevalence of biliary complications after liver transplantation remains high. The most common short-term biliary complication may be biliary leak. So, we examined 13 patients with biliary leak after liver transplantation, attempting to evaluate the role of endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of biliary leak and the incidence of bile duct stricture after healing of the leak.


Six cases of T-tube leak and seven cases of anastomosis leak complicating liver transplantation were enrolled in this prospective study. Six patients were treated by endoscopic plastic stent placement, two by nasobiliary catheter drainage, two by papillosphincterotomy, and three by nasobiliary catheter drainage combined with plastic stent placement. Some patients received growth hormone treatment.


The bile leak resolution time was 10-35 days in 10 patients with complete documentation. The median time of leak resolution was 15.3 days. Four cases of anastomosis stricture, three cases of common hepatic duct and one case of multiple bile duct stenosis were detected by follow-up nasobiliary catheter cholangiography or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.


Endoscopic nasobiliary catheter or plastic stent placement is a safe and effective treatment for bile duct stricture occurring after bile leak resolution in most liver transplantation patients. Nasobiliary catheter combined with plastic stent placement may be the best choice for treating bile leak, because, theoretically, it may prevent the serious condition resulting from accidental nasobiliary catheter dislocation, and it may have prophylactic effects on upcoming bile duct stricture, although this should be further confirmed.

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