Biliary complications of living related pediatric liver transplant patients

Karen Kling, H. Lau, P. Colombani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients who undergo living related left lateral segment liver transplants have been reported to have a high incidence of biliary complications and some studies suggest that most patients will ultimately need operative revision. We reviewed our experience with living related transplantation in pediatric recipients to examine the occurrence of biliary complications and the utility of percutaneous biliary procedures in their management. Over a 10-yr period, 48 living donor transplants were performed in 47 patients. Sixteen patients (33%) had biliary complications. Complications included 10 leaks (20%) and eight strictures (17%). Although leaks were treated predominantly with operation, other biliary complications were treated almost exclusively non-operatively. Self limited leaks that lead to biloma accumulation were most often treated via percutaneous catheter drainage and all strictures were treated using percutaneous transhepatic biliary cholangioplasty and stenting. Sixty-seven percent of biliary complications underwent non-operative biliary intervention. Most strictures were focal anastomotic strictures and were successfully treated with cholangioplasty although multiple interventions were necessary and patients required stenting for an average of 13 months. Three of eight strictures were diffuse in nature and these included the only patient who required retransplantation. Graft survival with respect to biliary complications was 94%; 1 yr, 5 yr and overall patient survival for those with biliary complications was 88, 88 and 81%, and for the entire living related group was 84, 81 and 77%, respectively. Although biliary complications are frequent in pediatric living related transplantation, they are not associated with decreased patient survival. Excepting significant bile leaks, the majority can be treated non-operatively via biliary cholangioplasty and stenting. Strictures are especially amenable to this technique which, in our experience, has been successful at decreasing or postponing the need for retransplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-184
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Biliary
  • Living related liver transplantation
  • Pediatric liver transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation


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