Endoscopic stenting of the gallbladder for symptomatic gallbladder disease in patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting orthotopic liver transplantation.Liver Transpl Surg. 1999 Jul; 5(4):275-81.LT
Cholecystectomy in patients with advanced cirrhosis is associated with excessive morbidity and mortality. Because open cholecystectomy in patients with Child's class C cirrhosis has a reported mortality rate as high as 83%, symptomatic gallbladder disease in patients awaiting orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) poses a unique clinical problem. The goal of this study is to determine whether the treatment of symptomatic gallbladder disease with endoscopic stenting of the gallbladder effectively reduces biliary symptoms and complications or the need for cholecystectomy. Thirteen patients with symptomatic gallbladder disease with and without cholelithiasis and advanced cirrhosis who were candidates for OLT underwent placement of a biliary stent from the gallbladder to the duodenum at endoscopic retrograde cholangiography. In each patient, biliary symptoms and complications ceased after stent placement. Seven patients underwent successful OLT 1 to 24 months after the procedure. One patient subsequently became a noncandidate for OLT and died of diabetes complications 3 years after the procedure. Five others are awaiting OLT (6 to 28 months postprocedure). One patient had recurrent pericholecystic fluid collection requiring percutaneous drainage and antibiotic therapy 8 months after the procedure. No patient has had recurrent symptoms, and currently all patients are free of complications. None required surgical intervention of the gallbladder or biliary tree. We conclude that endoscopic stenting of the gallbladder is the preferred treatment for symptomatic gallbladder disease in patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting OLT. This approach is noninvasive, safe, and effective in preventing potential morbidity and mortality.