AIM: To address endoscopic outcomes of post-Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) patients diagnosed with a “redundant bile duct” (RBD).
METHODS: Medical records of patients who underwent OLT at the Liver Transplant Center, University Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Texas were retrospectively analyzed. Patients with suspected biliary tract complications (BTC) underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). All ERCP were performed by experienced biliary endoscopist. RBD was defined as a looped, sigmoid-shaped bile duct on cholangiogram with associated cholestatic liver biomarkers. Patients with biliary T-tube placement, biliary anastomotic strictures, bile leaks, bile-duct stones-sludge and suspected sphincter of oddi dysfunction were excluded. Therapy included single or multiple biliary stents with or without sphincterotomy. The incidence of RBD, the number of ERCP corrective sessions, and the type of endoscopic interventions were recorded. Successful response to endoscopic therapy was defined as resolution of RBD with normalization of associated cholestasis. Laboratory data and pertinent radiographic imaging noted included the pre-ERCP period and a follow up period of 6-12 mo after the last ERCP intervention.
RESULTS: One thousand two hundred and eighty-two patient records who received OLT from 1992 through 2011 were reviewed. Two hundred and twenty-four patients underwent ERCP for suspected BTC. RBD was reported in each of the initial cholangiograms. Twenty-one out of 1282 (1.6%) were identified as having RBD. There were 12 men and 9 women, average age of 59.6 years. Primary indication for ERCP was cholestatic pattern of liver associated biomarkers. Nineteen out of 21 patients underwent endoscopic therapy and 2/21 required immediate surgical intervention. In the endoscopically managed group: 65 ERCP procedures were performed with an average of 3.4 per patient and 1.1 stent per session. Fifteen out of 19 (78.9%) patients were successfully managed with biliary stenting. All stents were plastic. Selection of stent size and length were based upon endoscopist preference. Stent size ranged from 7 to 11.5 Fr (average stent size 10 Fr); Stent length ranged from 6 to 15 cm (average length 9 cm). Concurrent biliary sphincterotomy was performed in 10/19 patients. Single ERCP session was sufficient in 6/15 (40.0%) patients, whereas 4/15 (26.7%) patients needed two ERCP sessions and 5/15 (33.3%) patients required more than two (average of 5.4 ERCP procedures). Single biliary stent was sufficient in 5 patients; the remaining patients required an average of 4.9 stents. Four out of 19 (21.1%) patients failed endotherapy (lack of resolution of RBD and recurrent cholestasis in the absence of biliary stent) and required either choledocojejunostomy (2/4) or percutaneous biliary drainage (2/4). Endoscopic complications included: 2/65 (3%) post-ERCP pancreatitis and 2/10 (20%) non-complicated post-sphincterotomy bleeding. No endoscopic related mortality was found. The medical records of the 15 successful endoscopically managed patients were reviewed for a period of one year after removal of all biliary stents. Eleven patients had continued resolution of cholestatic biomarkers (73%). One patient had recurrent hepatitis C, 2 patients suffered septic shock which was not associated with ERCP and 1 patient was transferred care to an outside provider and records were not available for our review.
CONCLUSION: Although surgical biliary reconstruction techniques have improved, RBD represents a post-OLT complication. This entity is rare however, endoscopic management of RBD represents a reasonable initial approach.