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Long-term Outcome of Endoscopic and Percutaneous Transhepatic Approaches for Biliary Complications in Liver Transplant Recipients.

Background: Biliary complications occur in 6% to 34% of liver transplant recipients, for which endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography has become widely accepted as the first-line therapy. We evaluated long-term outcome of biliary complications in patients liver transplanted between 2004 and 2014 at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm.

Methods: Data were retrospectively collected, radiological images were analyzed for type of biliary complication, and graft and patient survivals were calculated.

Results: In 110 (18.5%) of 596 transplantations, there were a total of 153 cases of biliary complications: 68 (44.4%) anastomotic strictures, 43 (28.1%) nonanastomotic strictures, 24 (15.7%) bile leaks, 11 (7.2%) cases of stone- and/or sludge-related problems, and 7 (4.6%) cases of mixed biliary complications. Treatment success rates for each complication were 90%, 73%, 100%, 82% and 80%, respectively. When the endoscopic approach was unsatisfactory or failed, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography or a combination of treatments was often successful (in 18 of 24 cases). No procedure-related mortality was observed. Procedure-related complications were reported in 7.7% of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and 3.8% of percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography procedures. Patient survival rates, 1, 3, 5, and 10 years posttransplant in patients with biliary complications were 92.7%, 80%, 74.7%, and 54.1%, respectively, compared with 92%, 86.6%, 83.7%, and 72.8% in patients free from biliary complications ( P < 0.01). Similarly, long-term graft survival was lower in the group experiencing biliary complications ( P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Endoscopic and percutaneous approaches for treating biliary complications are safe and efficient and should be considered complementing techniques. Despite a high treatment success rate of biliary complications, their occurrence still has a significant negative impact on patient and graft long-term survivals.

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