Acute bile duct injury

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An immediate repair is considered optimal in acute biliary duct injuries; however, it may prove to be a challenge, because such repairs are usually performed on small ducts whose viability cannot always be determined.


We performed a retrospective review of the charts of patients with acute bile duct injury who underwent repair at a tertiary care academic university hospital. A total of 204 patients with acute bile duct injury were seen between 1989 and 2002. Of these, 30 were repaired within minutes to hours after the injury. These patients were divided into two groups. Group I patients had a Roux-en-Y hepatojejunostomy below the hepatic junction; Group II patients had a Roux-en-Y hepatojejunostomy at the junction level. We then performed a long-term evaluation of anastomosis function in these patients, using clinical, radiological, and laboratory.


Twenty-eight injuries were secondary to a laparoscopy; the other two resulted from open cholecystectomies. All of the patients suffered complex injuries with complete section of the duct and substance loss (Strasberg E). There were 12 patients in group I and 18 in group II. Three cases in group I (25%) and one in group II (5%) developed anastomosis dysfunction. Mean follow-up was 56 months (range, 12-80) in group I and 52 months (range, 10-76) in group II. Two cases in group I (16%) and none in group II (0) required reoperation (p < 0.05).


In the acute setting, complex lesions should be treated with a high bilioenteric anastomosis (at the junction level) in the first attempt at repair. Lower-level anastomoses are associated with a higher dysfunction rate and the need for radiological manipulation and reoperation. Also, stenosis of the anastomosis secondary to undetected duct ischemia in the acute repair is more frequent in low bilioenteric anastomoses.

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