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A Journal on Internal Medicine

Indexed/Abstracted in: Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,236

Frequency: Bi-Monthly

ISSN 0026-4806

Online ISSN 1827-1669


Minerva Medica 2014 April;105(2):99-107


Preoperative biliary drainage for pancreatic cancer

Van Heek N. T., Busch O. R. C., Van Gulik T. M., Gouma D. J.

Department of Surgery, Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This review is to summarize the current knowledge about preoperative biliary drainage (PBD) in patients with biliary obstruction caused by pancreatic cancer. Most patients with pancreatic carcinoma (85%) will present with obstructive jaundice. The presence of toxic substances as bilirubin and bile salts, impaired liver function and altered nutritional status due to obstructive jaundice have been characterized as factors for development of complications after surgery. Whereas PBD was to yield beneficial effects in the experimental setting, conflicting results have been observed in clinical studies. The meta-analysis from relative older studies as well as more importantly a recent clinical trial showed that PBD should not be performed routinely. PBD for patients with a distal biliary obstruction is leading to more serious complications compared with early surgery. Arguments for PBD have shifted from a potential therapeutic benefit towards a logistic problem such as patients suffering from cholangitis and severe jaundice at admission or patients who need extra diagnostic tests, or delay in surgery due to a referral pattern or waiting list for surgery as well as candidates for neoadjuvant chemo(radio)therapy. If drainage is indicated in these patients it should be performed with a metal stent to reduce complications after the drainage procedure such as stent occlusion and cholangitis. Considering a change towards more neoadjuvant therapy regimes improvement of the quality of the biliary drainage concept is still important.

language: English


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