Biliary casts after orthotopic liver transplantation: clinical factors, treatment, biochemical analysis

Shah, Janak N.; Haigh, W. Geoffrey; Lee, Sum P.; Lucey, Michael R.; Brensinger, Colleen M.; Kochman, Michael L.; Long, William B.; Olthoff, Kim; Shaked, Abraham; Ginsberg, Gregory G.
August 2003
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Aug2003, Vol. 98 Issue 8, p1861
Academic Journal
: ObjectivesBiliary casts develop in up to 18% of liver transplant recipients. Casts are associated with morbidity, graft failure, need for retransplantation, and mortality. Proposed etiological mechanisms include acute cellular rejection, ischemia, infection, and biliary obstruction. We aimed to identify clinical features associated with biliary cast formation, review treatments, and analyze the biochemical composition of casts at a single, large, liver transplant center.: MethodsPatient records were reviewed retrospectively to identify patients who developed casts. Data were collected with attention to ischemia, rejection, obstruction, infection, immunosuppression, postoperative biliary drain use, and cast-directed management, and were compared with data from controls. Cast specimens, retrieved at cholangiography, were analyzed with chromatography techniques.: ResultsIschemic factors were noted in 70% (7/10) of cast patients versus 15% (6/40) of controls (OR = 13.2; 95% CI = 2.7–66.0; p = 0.001). Biliary strictures were present in 50% of cast patients versus 10% of controls (OR = 9.0; 95% CI = 1.8–45.2; p = 0.01). Differences in cold ischemia time, acute cellular rejection, cyclosporin use, infection, and postoperative biliary drain use were not significant. Casts were successfully treated by endoscopic and percutaneous methods in 60% of patients. One patient died of cast-related complications (mortality 10%). Four casts were in satisfactory condition for biochemical analysis. Bilirubin was the main component (∼10–50%). Bile acid synthesis products and cholesterol comprised smaller percentages, and protein comprised only 5–10%.: ConclusionBiliary casts are more likely to develop in the setting of hepatic ischemia and biliary strictures. Endoscopic and percutaneous cast extraction might achieve favorable results and should be attempted before surgical therapy.


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