The purpose of this work was to evaluate the incidence of bile peritonitis following T-tube removal in liver transplant patients as a function of the method of T-tube removal. Removal at the bedside was compared to removal in the interventional radiology department with subsequent placement of a temporary drainage catheter.MATERIALS AND METHODS:
From June 1987 through July 1993, 1,105 patients underwent orthotopic liver transplantation at the UCLA Medical Center. Three hundred patients were randomly selected from this group and their charts were reviewed. Two hundred sixty-three patients who had choledocho-choledochostomies over a T tube, and adequate documentation of the method of T-tube removal and subsequent clinical course were included in the study. Forty-one patients had their drainage catheter removed at the bedside, and 222 patients had their T-tube removed over a wire in the interventional radiology department with subsequent placement of a temporary drainage catheter.RESULTS:
Among all patients included in this study, 10.3% had bile peritonitis. Of the patients who had their T-tube removed at the bedside, 19.5% had bile peritonitis, whereas only 8.6% of the patients who had their T-tube removed in the interventional radiology department had bile peritonitis. This result is statistically significant (P < .05).CONCLUSION:
Placing a temporary drain at the time of T-tube removal in the interventional radiology department results in a significant reduction in the incidence of bile peritonitis in liver transplant patients. The procedure is relatively simple, quickly mastered, and well tolerated by patients.