Biliary complications after paediatric liver transplantation: Birmingham's experience.


Between 1983 and 1992, 112 children underwent liver transplantation. Of 138 grafts, 60 (43.4%) were whole livers, 77 (55.6%) were reduced livers, and 1 (0.7%) was a split liver. Biliary complications (BC) were defined as any abnormality, even minor, related to the biliary tract. Results were analysed with a minimum follow-up of 9 months. Some 36 grafts (26.1%) in 34 patients (30.4%) presented with BC: bile leaks (17 grafts), biliary obstructions or dilatations (16 grafts), and other complications (3 grafts). Management was mainly surgical with biliary reconstruction via a Roux-en-Y loop. Interventional radiology had an increasing role in recent years. BC were associated with a mortality of 1.8% (2/112), a graft loss rate of 4.3% (6/138), and significant morbidity. Among the various factors whose association with BC was studied, the date of transplantation, the use of reduced grafts and the use of gallbladder conduits appeared to be the main determining factors for BC. From multivariate analysis the use of reduced grafts emerged as the most important factor in reducing BC. We therefore conclude that BC are associated with significant morbidity, but general improvements in both surgical and medical management seem to account for better results in recent years.


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