Between February 1981 and June 1984, 15 patients with benign biliary strictures were treated with percutaneous transhepatic balloon dilatation. Three of these patients had received liver transplants. The treatment began with a course of balloon dilatation therapy, after which a stent catheter was left across the stricture. Six weeks later, after duct patency had been shown by cholangiography, the stent catheter was removed from all but two patients, both of whom had intrahepatic sclerosing cholangitis. After this procedure, six patients (40%), including two liver-transplant patients, were stricture-free after one treatment for periods ranging from 27 to 56 months, and were considered to be treatment successes. Nine patients (60%) suffered stricture recurrences. In eight of these patients, the stricture was heralded by symptoms of either cholangitis or jaundice; in one patient, who was on permanent catheter drainage, the stricture was discovered only on follow-up cholangiography. All successfully treated patients had only one stricture, while all patients with more than one stricture suffered recurrences. Our data also suggest a greater responsiveness for anastomotic strictures than for non-anastomotic strictures. Of the patients with recurrences, five had symptom-free intervals of 23 months or more (up to 31 months). The fact that strictures recurred after such long periods of time underscores the importance of long-term follow-up. In view of the number of patients helped, the favorable experience with post-liver-transplantation strictures, and the lack of any major complications in our series, percutaneous biliary balloon dilatation offers a viable alternative to surgical management of benign biliary strictures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging