ERCP and short-term stent-trial in patients with anastomotic biliary stricture following liver transplantation

P. Cantù, A. Tenca, M. F. Donato, G. Rossi, L. Forzenigo, L. Piodi, C. Rigamonti, F. Agnelli, P. Biondetti, D. Conte, R. Penagini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Anastomotic biliary stricture represents one of the possible factors leading to liver dysfunction after transplantation. Purpose: Our aims were to evaluate the role of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography and a short-term stenting (stent-trial) in assessment of the clinical relevance of the biliary stricture. Materials and methods: Thirty transplanted patients for HCV (n = 17) or non-HCV (n = 13)-related cirrhosis (27 M, median age 53 yr, range 24-67 yr) who developed persistently abnormal liver function tests and presented with an anastomotic biliary stricture suggested by non-invasive cholangiography, underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography. If the stricture was confirmed, dilation was performed and a plastic stent was placed. Clinical and biochemical evaluation was done one and two months later. Resolution of symptoms and normalization or > 50% reduction of at least one liver function test were needed to consider the stricture as clinically relevant. Patients were followed up for a median of 19 months. Results: Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography was successful in 29 patients and confirmed the anastomotic biliary stricture in 19 (66%); 14 patients underwent endoscopic dilation and stenting and five patients underwent surgery. The stent-trial suggested the stricture to be clinically relevant in 7 of 14 patients, confirmed by prolonged stenting and follow-up. A trend towards a higher likelihood of a clinically relevant stricture was observed in HCV-negative compared to HCV-positive patients (5 of 7, 71% vs 2 of 7, 29%, respectively; p = 0.1). Conclusions: Our data suggest that endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography is a valuable tool to evaluate the clinical relevance of an anastomotic stricture, when coupled with a short-term stent-trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-522
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Anastomotic stricture
  • Biliary stenting
  • ERCP
  • Liver transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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