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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2019 Feb 21. pii: S0748-7983(19)30292-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2019.02.021. [Epub ahead of print]

Is bile leakage after hepatic resection associated with impaired long-term survival?

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Department of Visceral, Transplant and Thoracic Surgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
Department of Visceral, Transplant and Thoracic Surgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address:



Bile leakage (BL) is a frequent and severe complication following liver surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate risk factors for BL, related other complications and association with long-term survival.


This study included all patients undergoing hepatectomy in a single centre from 2005 to 2016. Perioperative risk factors related to BL were identified using univariable and multivariable analysis. Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis.


BL occurred in 48 of 458 patients (11%). BLs were more frequent in patients after major hepatectomy (p = 0.001). Portal vein embolization, bilioenteric-anastomosis, lymphadenectomy, vascular reconstruction and operative time were significant factors for developing BL. Comparing patients with or without BL, BL was more commonly associated with other postoperative complications (p = 0.001), especially acute kidney failure and surgical-site-infections. There was no difference in 90-day-mortality (p = 0.124). The median disease-free survival was comparable (17 vs. 15 months, p = 0.976), also no difference was observed when stratifying for different tumour entities. There was no difference in median overall survival (OS) among malignant disease (35 vs. 47 months, p = 0.200) and in 3-year OS (46% vs. 59%). Multivariate analysis confirmed that postoperative liver failure and major hepatectomy were risk factors for reduced OS (p = 0.010).


Many concerns have been raised regarding tumour progression after major complications. In this study, we only found a relevant influence of BL on OS in pCC, whereas no association was seen in other cancer types, indicating that tumour progression might be triggered by BL in cancer types arising from the bile ducts itself.


Bile leakage; Hepatic resection; Malignancy; Oncological outcome; Survival


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