Multiple plastic stent (MPS) for biliary anastomotic stricture (AS) after liver transplantation requires multiple procedures with consequent costs. To compare the success, adverse events and treatment-related costs of fully covered self-expandable metal stents (FCSEMS) versus MPS. Thirty liver transplant (LT) patients with clinically relevant naïve AS were prospectively randomized to FCSEMS or MPS, with stent numbers increased at 3-month intervals. Treatment costs per patient were calculated for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (including all devices and stents) and overall hospital stay. Radiological success was achieved in 73% of FCSEMS (median indwelling period of 6 mos) and 93% of MPS patients (P = NS) (median period of 11 mos). AS recurrence occurred in 36% of FCSEMS and 7% of MPS patients (P = NS), and AS re-treatment was needed in 53% and 13% (P < 0.01), respectively, during follow-up of 60 (34–80) months. Stents migrated after 29% and 2.6% of FCSEMS and MPS procedures, respectively (P < 0.01). Including re-treatments, long-term clinical success was achieved in 28/30 (93%) patients. Overall treatment-related costs were similar between groups. In the subgroup of LT patients in clinical remission after first-line treatment, treatment costs were 41% lower per FCSEMS patient compared with MPS patients. FCSEMS did not perform better than MPS. FCSEMS migration increased the rate of re-treatment and costs.
- biliary anastomotic stricture
- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedure
- liver transplantation
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