BACKGROUND: Patients with resectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma often present obstructive jaundice and a small future remnant liver (FRL) ratio. A sequential approach comprising preoperative biliary drainage followed by portal vein embolization (PVE) is usually performed but leads to long preoperative management (6-12 weeks) before patients can undergo resection. To simplify and shorten this phase of liver preparation, we developed a new preoperative approach that involves percutaneous biliary drainage and PVE during the same procedure. We report the outcomes of this combined procedure.
METHODS: During 1 year, four patients underwent simultaneous biliary drainage and PVE followed 1 month later by surgical resection of hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Liver volumes were assessed by CT before, and 1, and 3 months after the combined procedure. Serum liver enzymes were assessed before and 1 month after the combined procedure.
RESULTS: The combined procedure was feasible in all cases, with no related complications. After the combined procedure, transaminases remained stable or decreased, whereas gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin decreased. During the first month, the left lobe volume increased by +27.9 % (range 19-40.9 %). The FRL ratio increased from 24.9 to 33.2 %. All patients underwent R0 liver resection with a favorable postoperative outcome. The remnant liver volume increased by +132 % (range 78-245 %) between 1 and 3 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Simultaneous percutaneous biliary drainage and PVE is feasible. This all-in-one preoperative approach greatly decreases waiting time until surgical resection. These encouraging results warrant further investigation to confirm the safety and to evaluate the reduction in the dropout rate for liver resection in this tumor with poor prognosis.