Long-term outcome of endoscopic treatment of biliary strictures after liver transplantation



Biliary strictures are one of the most common complications following liver transplantation (LT), with an incidence of 5.8-34%. Endoscopic techniques have been successfully used to treat biliary complications; however, the long-term efficacy and safety of this treatment option has not yet been fully elucidated. This prospective study was performed to determine the efficacy and safety of endoscopic management of biliary complications after LT and its impact on long-term patient and graft survival. Biliary strictures were suspected in the presence of elevated liver parameters and/or abnormal abdominal sonography and subsequently diagnosed by endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC). The mean follow-up was 39.8 (range, 0.3-98.2) months after first ERC. Between October 1992 and December 2003, a total of 515 patients underwent LT. Biliary complications were diagnosed in 84 patients (16.3 %). Anastomotic strictures (AS) alone were found in 65 (12.6%) and nonanastomotic strictures (NAS) in 19 patients (3.7%). Long-term success was observed in 77% of patients with AS. In patients with NAS, partial long-term responses could be achieved in 63% of patients. Five patients (6.2%) required a percutaneous and 6 (7.4%) patients a surgical approach.In conclusion, the long-term outcome for patients with post-liver transplant biliary strictures after endoscopic treatment is excellent, especially for patients with AS. Development of NAS reduces graft but not patient survival after endoscopic therapy. Liver Transpl 12:718–725, 2006. © 2006 AASLD.