Surgical management decreases disease recurrence risk in recurrent pyogenic cholangitis.

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Recurrent pyogenic cholangitis (RPC) has a high risk of disease recurrence. We present our experience with RPC and examine the factors associated with disease recurrence.


We performed a retrospective review of all patients with RPC treated at two tertiary institutions between January 1990 and December 2013. Patients with liver atrophy and/or abscess were categorized as being associated with parenchymal disease (PD).


We studied 157 patients with a median age of 59.0 (interquartile range (IQR): 47.0-70.0) years and a median follow-up duration of 71.0 (IQR: 26.0-109.0) months. There were 64 (40.8%) and 93 (59.2%) patients with and without associated PD, respectively. Disease recurrence rate was 43.9% in our overall cohort through the course of follow-up. Surgical treatment was an independent prognostic factor for decreased disease recurrence risk (hazard ratio (HR) 0.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18-0.87, P = 0.021). Stratified analysis revealed that liver resection was prognostic for lower risk of disease recurrence among patients with PD (HR 0.38, 95% CI 0.15-0.94, P = 0.036), while biliary bypass was prognostic for lower risk of disease recurrence among patients without PD (HR 0.30, 95% CI 0.15-0.61, P = 0.001). The overall post-operative complication rate among surgically treated patients was 31.1%, and the presence of bilobar stones was found to be independently associated with higher odds of post-operative complications (odds ratio 3.51, 95% CI 1.26-9.81, P = 0.017).


Surgical treatment is associated with decreased recurrence risk in RPC, but with significant post-operative morbidity. Where surgery is deemed appropriate, patients with and without PD are likely to benefit from liver resection and biliary bypass, respectively.

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