Percutaneous transhepatic endoprostheses for hilar cholangiocarcinoma
In patients with unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma, percutaneous transhepatic endoprosthesis insertion is one of the available methods of palliation. We reviewed our experience with it in 35 consecutive patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma who were judged on clinical or radiologic evidence to be unsuitable for resective or palliative surgery. The 30-day mortality rate was 14 percent (5 of 35 patients). Of the remaining 30 patients, endoprosthesis placement was successful in 28, with 2 patients discharged with a permanent external drainage catheter. Twenty-four patients survived a median of 3 months (range 1 to 17 months), and 2 were lost to follow-up. Good or fair palliation of symptoms was achieved in 50 percent of the discharged patients and in 66 percent of those living longer than 3 months. We believe that percutaneous transhepatic endoprostheses can provide useful palliation in patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma, even in the presence of advanced disease.