Diagnosis and treatment of biliary tract complications after orthotopic liver transplantation

Robert J. Stratta, R. Patrick Wood, Alan N. Langnas, Ronald R. Hollins, Kenneth J. Bruder, Jeremiah P. Donovan, David A. Burnett, Robert P. Lieberman, Gunnar B. Lund, Todd J. Pillen, Rodney S. Markin, Byers W. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

278 Scopus citations


Biliary tract complications are a continuing source of morbidity after liver transplantation. In a 3.5-year period we performed 264 liver transplants in 226 patients (132 adults, 94 children). Biliary tract reconstruction was via Roux limb choledochojejunostomy (n = 144) or choledochocholedochostomy (n = 118). Fifty (19.1%) biliary complications occurred, and 35 (13.4%) necessitated operative repair. The incidence was similar in adults and children and after each method of reconstruction. Risk factors were vascular thrombosis and reduced-sized transplants. Diagnosis was based on the algorithmic use of multiple modalities with early biliary visualization. Roux limb complications usually occurred in the first month after transplant and necessitated operative intervention, whereas duct-to-duct problems appeared later and were more accessible to percutaneous or endoscopie manipulations. Eight (6.8%) patients required conversion to a Roux limb, whereas 8 15 (53.3%) cases of biliary stricture were successfully managed nonoperatively. Three (1.3%) patients and four (1.5%) grafts were lost as a result of biliary complications. One-year actuarial patient survival is 76.4% with a mean follow-up of 13.2 months. Early recognition of biliary complications and prompt interventional therapy can effectively prevent long-term sequelae. Although choledochocholedochostomy is more physiologic and expeditious, Roux-en-Y choledochojejunostomy remains a safe and versatile alternative and is the preferred method of reconstruction in select cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-684
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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