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Percutaneous transhepatic cholangioscopic treatment for hepatolithiasis: an evaluation of long-term results and risk factors for recurrence.

BACKGROUND: Percutaneous transhepatic cholangioscopy (PTCS) has a major role in the treatment of hepatolithiasis. The aims of this study were to evaluate immediate and long-term results of PTCS treatment and to elucidate the risk factors for recurrence of stones or cholangitis.

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted of patients with hepatolithiasis who underwent PTCS treatment. A total of 92 patients underwent PTCS treatment and 68 were followed for 24 to 60 months (median 42 months).

RESULTS: Complete clearance of stones was achieved in 74 (80%) patients. The rate of complete clearance was significantly lower in patients with severe intrahepatic strictures compared with that for those with no strictures (14 of 24, 58% vs. 16 of 16, 100%, p < 0.01) and those with mild to moderate strictures (14 of 24, 58% vs. 44 of 52, 85%, p < 0.05). Patients with severe intrahepatic strictures had a higher recurrence rate than those with no or mild strictures (100% vs. 28%, p < 0.01). In addition the recurrence rate in patients with advanced biliary cirrhosis (Child's class B or C) was higher than in those with no or mild (Child's class A) cirrhosis (89% vs. 29%, p < 0.01). In patients with type I and II hepatolithiasis (Tsunoda classification), stones recurred in 2 (12%) patients at 28 and 32 months after successful stone removal, without further recurrence afterwards. The recurrence rate in patients with type III and IV hepatolithiasis increased gradually up to 50% at 60 months of follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Severe intrahepatic stricture was the only factor that affected the immediate success rate of PTCS in the treatment of hepatolithiasis. Several risk factors including severe biliary stricture, advanced biliary cirrhosis and Tsunoda type III and IV affected the long-term results.

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