Ischemic Bile Duct Injury as a Serious Complication After Transarterial Chemoembolization in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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BackgroundBile duct injuries after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) have been reported; however, the exact pathogenic mechanisms and clinical implications of the injuries remain to be clarified.StudyA total of 950 consecutive patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were studied. Among them, 807 were treated with TACE and the remaining 143 were treated with transarterial chemoinfusion (TACI) of cisplatin.ResultsNone of 143 patients with HCC treated with TACI were found to have any radiographic evidence of biliary injury. In contrast, of the 807 patients treated with TACE, 17 (2%) developed biliary complications. Of all complications, 12 (71%) were subcapsular bilomas; 3 (17%), focal strictures of the common hepatic duct or common bile duct; and 2 (12%), diffuse mild dilatation of the intrahepatic bile ducts. Interestingly, 2 of the 12 bilomas were found in the lobe that was not embolized with gelatin sponge particles. The median numbers of TACE tended to be greater in the patients with focal stricture than in those with bilomas (6.0 vs. 2.5;p = 0.08). All 3 patients with focal strictures and 4 of the 12 patients with bilomas had associated serious bacterial infections at presentation.ConclusionsBilomas seem to be caused by iodized oil rather than gelatin sponge particles; focal strictures of large bile ducts seem to be caused by gelatin sponge particles. We suggest that adjustments in the amounts of iodized oil or gelatin sponge particles and in the sites of embolization may reduce ischemic biliary injuries after TACE.

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