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Keywords:

  • bile duct;
  • liver transplantation;
  • complication

Abstract: Biliary stricture is a recipient graft complication, occurring late in the post-operative period, which appears to occur with increased frequency in living-related donor liver transplantation (LRD LTx). We reviewed the experience at the University of Minnesota in managing a biliary complication of LRD LTx. Since January 1997, 13 LRD transplants have been performed using the technique of transplantation of the left lateral segments with a small portion of segment IV. All patients had hepaticojejunostomies using a Roux-en-Y loop. Of the 11 surviving patients, eight had evidence of cholangitis (Gram-negative sepsis, two patients; ascending cholangitis, three patients; or unexplained fever with elevated liver enzymes, three patients) 4–8 months after otherwise successful transplantation. Six of the patients underwent percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) with demonstration of a stenosis at the site of the biliary anastomosis. Repeated dilation of the anastomosis led to resolution of the stenoses, normalization of liver enzymes, and prevention of further episodes of infection. No patient required revision of the hepaticojejunostomy. Computed axial tomography evidence of ductal stenosis may be subtle in this group of patients, but PTC is diagnostic. We suggest a high index of suspicion of biliary stricture in the LRD LTx population. Biliary dilation reduces the risk of life-threatening sepsis.