Endoscopic Management of Biliary Leaks and Strictures After Living Donor Liver Transplantation: Optimizing Techniques for Successful Management

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Background and Aims: Biliary complications (BCs) occur in up to 40% of living donor liver transplant (LDLT) recipients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of endoscopic therapy in the management of LDLT-related BCs. Methods: A retrospective study of 100 LDLT recipients at a single transplant center over a 9-year period was conducted. BC was defined as a biliary leak and/or a stricture. Patient records were used to identify time to diagnosis, type of intervention, and time to resolution. Results: BCs occurred in 46 (46%) patients; median follow-up was 4.6 years (range 5 days–9.3 years); and median time to diagnosis was 37.5 days (range 1 day–3.5 years). BCs were classified as a leak in 6 (6%), stricture in 22 (22%), and a leak + stricture in 18 (18%). ERCP was the initial treatment modality in 43/46 (93%) patients and was completed in 42/43 (98%). Three (6.5%) patients with a leak underwent surgery as the primary treatment approach. The median time to resolution of BCs was 91.5 days (range 21–367). Thirteen patients had a recurrence which was managed with endoscopic therapy alone. Conclusions: Endoscopic therapy was successful in almost all patients (98%) and ERCP alone resulted in successful treatment in a higher proportion of patients (93%) than traditionally reported. Advanced endoscopic techniques obviate the need for PTC and/or surgery and allow successful management in almost all LDLT recipients presenting with BC and in patients with recurrence of strictures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Biliary complications
  • Biliary strictures
  • ERCP
  • Leaks
  • Living donor liver transplantation

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