Percutaneous transhepatic drainage in obstructive jaundice: Advantages and problems
This study is a critical prospective assessment of 37 patients with obstructive jaundice, treated by percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage. The median duration of drainage was 18 days (range 44-55), and during this period clearance of bilirubin and improvement in creatinine clearance were obtained. Only 10 patients gained weight. Three patients required early laparotomy. Thirty-three patients underwent definitive surgery. Of these, 8 died without leaving hospital. The incidence of infection rose during drainage, and infected bile was clinically significant. Two deaths were associated with infection, arising in the drainage system, producing intrahepatic abscesses around the drain track. While the evidence for a staged approach in the severely ill patient with obstructive jaundice is substantial, the procedure of percutaneous transhepatic tubal drainage carries significant hazards, underemphasized in previous reports. Further controlled assessment is required before this technique is accepted as the initial best option for decompression of the obstructed biliary tract.