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Diagnostic Approach in Biliary Strictures After Pediatric Liver Transplantation

Dorota Jarzębicka, Piotr Czubkowski, Anna Kamińska, Małgorzata Markiewicz-Kijewska, Katarzyna Nowak, Dorota Broniszczak, Maciej Dądalski, Irena Jankowska, Joanna Pawłowska

(Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Feeding Disorders and Pediatrics, The Children’s Memorial Health Institute, Warsaw, Poland)

Ann Transplant 2017; 22:257-264

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.901931


BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of post-liver transplant biliary strictures (BS) requires a high degree of clinical suspicion because of the diversity of symptoms and usually mild clinical presentation. If quickly treated, successful outcome is achieved most cases. The aim of our study was to analyze the value of diagnostic methods in BS after pediatric LTx.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed clinical data of children with BS after liver transplantation, with the main focus on diagnostic methods, including imaging studies and histology. All patients underwent endoscopic, transhepatic, or surgical treatment of the stricture.
RESULTS: Sixty-seven patients after LTx performed at the median age of 9.1 years (0.4–18) developed BS, mostly within the first 12 months (40%). Laboratory findings at diagnosis were: bilirubin 4.65 (5.8±SD), GGTP 434 (382.9±SD), and ALT 126.5 (116.8±SD); 16 patients presented with bilirubin level <1 mg% and 4 with GGTP below 100 IU. Ultrasound scan (USS) visualized dilatation of the bile ducts in 53 (79%) patients. Overall sensitivity of hepatobiliary scintigraphy (HBS) was 93%, with dilatation of bile ducts in 69% and impaired excretion in 68% of patients. MRCP showed 100% accuracy in detecting biliary dilatation and a stricture was visualized in 39%. Liver histology was consistent with biliary obstruction in 66%. Treatment of BS was successful in the majority of cases, with 89% graft survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Non-invasive investigations are highly sensitive in post-transplant BS and should play the key role in diagnostic algorithms.

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