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Gastrointest Endosc. 1995 Sep;42(3):195-201.

Biliary endoprostheses in elderly patients with endoscopically irretrievable common bile duct stones: report on 117 patients.

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Department of Gastroenterology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Endoscopic sphincterotomy and stone extraction can clear the bile ducts in 85% to 90% of patients. In case endoscopic stone extraction fails, insertion of a biliary endoprosthesis is an alternative.


Biliary endoprostheses were inserted in 117 patients (73 women and 44 men, median age 80 years). Follow-up was achieved by contacting referring physicians and general practitioners.


Biliary drainage was established in all patients. Early complications occurred in 10 patients (9%) with a fatal outcome in 1. In 59 patients the endoprosthesis was a temporary measure before elective surgery or repeat endoscopy. Further treatment in these 59 patients caused only mild complications and there were no deaths. Endoprostheses were inserted as permanent therapy in 58 patients. Median follow-up in these 58 patients was 36 months (range, 1 to 117 months). A total of 34 complications occurred in 23 patients (40%), cholangitis being the most frequent. During follow-up, 44 patients died, 9 as a result of a biliary-related cause.


These data favor temporary use of biliary endoprostheses in patients with endoscopically irretrievable bile duct stones. However, as a permanent therapy, late complications occur in many patients and the risk increases proportionally in time. Therefore, permanent biliary stenting should preferably be restricted to patients unfit for elective treatment at a later stage and with a short life expectancy.

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