Background: With the increasing use of extended-criteria donor organs, the interest around T-tubes in liver transplantation (LT) was restored whilst concerns regarding T-tube-related complications persist.
Aim: To describe insertion and removal protocols implemented at our institution to safely use pediatric rubber 5-French T-tubes and subsequent outcomes in a consecutive series of adult patients.
Methods: Data of consecutive adult LT patients from brain-dead donors, treated from March 2017 to December 2019, were collected (i.e., biliary complications, adverse events, treatment after T-Tube removal). Patients with upfront hepatico-jejunostomy, endoscopically removed T-tubes, those who died or received retransplantation before T-tube removal were excluded.
Results: Seventy-two patients were included in this study; T-tubes were removed 158 d (median; IQR 128-206 d) after LT. In four (5.6%) patients accidental T-tube removal occurred requiring monitoring only; in 68 (94.4%) patients Nelaton drain insertion was performed according to our protocol, resulting in 18 (25%) patients with a biliary output, subsequently removed after 2 d (median; IQR 1-4 d). Three (4%) patients required endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) due to persistent Nelaton drain output. Three (4%) patients developed suspected biliary peritonitis, requiring ERCP with sphincterotomy and nasobiliary drain insertion (only one revealing contrast extravasation); no patient required percutaneous drainage or emergency surgery.
Conclusion: The use of pediatric rubber 5-French T-tubes in LT proved safe in our series after insertion and removal procedure refinements.
- Biliary drainage
- Biliary fistula
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography
- Liver transplantation