We aimed to describe management of biliary obstruction (BO) in the context of pancreatic cancer within a population-based cohort.Methods
We examined management of BO in 1863 patients diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer in 2010/2011. We used descriptive statistics and logistic regression to describe patterns of biliary stent usage, complications and duration of patency, associations between preoperative stenting and surgical outcomes, and between patient factors and management of jaundice.Results
Almost half of the people in the cohort (n = 909) were jaundiced within 12 months of diagnosis. Two-thirds of these had at least 1 stent inserted. Preoperative stenting, mostly with plastic stents, occurred for 72% of patients who experienced jaundice prior to an attempted resection but was not associated with surgical outcomes. Seventy percent of the jaundiced patients who did not have an attempted resection were stented. Metal stents were less frequently replaced within 30 days than plastic (9% vs 42%). Living in a rural area was associated with reduced likelihood of having jaundice managed.Conclusions
Plastic stents were still used frequently, despite guidelines recommending metal in most contexts. Patients living in rural areas were less likely to have BO managed. This work highlights the need to monitor current practice.