Predictors of bile leaks after T-tube removal in orthotopic liver transplant recipients

M. C. Shuhart, K. V. Kowdley, John McVicar, C. A. Rohrmann, M. E. McDonald, D. W. Wadland, S. S. Emerson, Jr Carithers R.L., M. B. Kimmey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Bile leaks after T-tube removal are a frequent cause of morbidity in orthotopic liver transplant recipients. The aim of this study was to determine factors that predict the development of these leaks in liver transplant recipients. Records of all patients who had undergone liver transplantation at the University of Washington Medical Center between January 1990 and September 1993 were reviewed. The following were excluded: patients with a Roux-en-Y anastomosis or inadvertent early T-tube removal and patients who died or underwent retransplantation before T-tube removal. All T-tube cholangiograms were reviewed blindly by two authors. Using logistic regression, several variables were assessed for possible association with bile leaks after T-tube removal; these included patient demographics, intraoperative variables, and clinical and cholangiographic variables related to T-tube removal. Of the 166 liver transplants performed in 150 patients, 99 transplants in 97 patients were evaluable for bile leak after T-tube removal. Thirty-three patients developed symptomatic bile leaks, and 21 underwent endoscopic or operative intervention for persistent symptoms. Only duct mural irregularities on the final cholangiogram were strongly associated with the development of a bile leak after T-tube removal (P = 0.001). In conclusion, bile leaks after T-tube removal occurred in one-third of patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation; the majority of these patients required some intervention. Duct mural irregularities were associated with bile leaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalLiver Transplantation and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Surgery


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