Korean J Gastrointest Endosc.  2006 Dec;33(6):346-352.

The Causes and Endoscopic Management of Bile Leak

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea. jbi@med.yu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Pohang Saint Mary's Hospital, Pohang, Korea.


This study evaluated the efficacy of endoscopic treatment in a bile leak that occurred through various causes.
The medical records of 35 patients (mean age 55.4 years; male/female 25/10), who were diagnosed with a bile leak by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in Yeungnam University Hospital from January 1998 to January 2006, were reviewed.
The most common cause of the bile leak was an open cholecystectomy (n=13, 37.1%) followed by a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (n=10, 28.6%), trauma (n=2, 5.7%), transarterial chemoembolization (n=3, 8.6%), spontaneous (n=3, 8.6%), and a hepatic resection (n=4, 11.4%). Thirty-four patients were treated endoscopically by the insertion of a plastic stent with/without a sphincterotomy (70.6%, 24/34), a nasobiliary drainage (11.8%, 4/34), or a sphincterotomy alone (17.6%, 6/34). Of these 34 patients, 30 were cured by the endoscopic treatment, 2 patients died from liver failure despite the use of nasobiliary drainage and 2 patients did not improve after endoscopic treatment. One patient underwent surgery without endoscopic treatment because of a transsection of the common bile duct. With the exception of the two who died from liver failure, the overall cure rate of endoscopic treatment was 90.9% (30/33). There were no complications associated with the endoscopic treatment.
Endoscopic treatment for a bile leak is safe and effective regardless of the cause.


Bile leak; Endoscopic treatment; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
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