To assess the value and the associated morbidity of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic endoprosthesis insertion in the treatment of patients with Klatskin tumors.
A tertiary referral center.
Fifty-five consecutive patients with Klatskin tumors diagnosed through typical cholangiographic and computed tomographic findings.
Standard ERCP with endoscopic stenting technique was employed. Once the diagnosis of Klatskin tumor was confirmed on cholangiogram, endoscopic stenting was performed to bypass the stricture. Multiple stents were inserted if necessary to ensure adequate biliary drainage.
Main Outcome Measures
The success rate of ERCP and endoscopic endoprosthesis insertion, successful drainage rate, early complications of endoscopic procedure, procedure-related mortality, and long-term outcome of endoprosthesis.
Of the 55 patients, cholangiography was performed in 53 (96%). In the 49 patients in whom endoscopic stenting was attempted, the procedure was successful in 28 patients (57%) at the first attempt and 8 patients (16%) at the second attempt, resulting in a cumulative success rate of 73%. Only 20 of these patients had satisfactory biliary drainage, resulting in an overall successful drainage rate of 41%. Early complications, including acute cholangitis, acute pancreatitis, and postpapillotomy bleeding occurred in 14 patients (25%). Three patients (5%) died of procedure-related complications. The median patency of the first endoprosthesis inserted was 1 week (range, 0-8 wk). The 30-day mortality rate was 18%.
In patients with Klatskin tumors, ERCP and endoscopic endoprosthesis insertion have a low successful drainage rate, are associated with high morbidity and procedure-related mortality, and have a limited effect on long-term palliation. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and endoscopic endoprosthesis insertion have a limited value in the management of patients with Klatskin tumors.