Radiologic characterization of ischemic cholangiopathy in donation-after-cardiac-death liver transplants and correlation with clinical outcomes

Kirk J. Giesbrandt, Ilynn G. Bulatao, Andrew P. Keaveny, Justin H. Nguyen, Ricardo Paz-Fumagalli, C. Burcin Taner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to define the cholangiographic patterns of ischemic cholangiopathy and clinically silent nonanastomotic biliary strictures in donationafter- cardiac-death (DCD) liver grafts in a large single-institution series. We also examined the correlation of the radiologic findings with laboratory data and clinical outcomes. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Data were collected for all DCD liver transplants at one institution from December 1998 to December 2011. Posttransplant cholangiograms were obtained during postoperative weeks 1 and 3 and when clinically indicated. Intrahepatic biliary strictures were classified by anatomic distribution and chronologic development. Radiologic findings were correlated with laboratory data and with 1-, 3-, and 5-year graft and patient survival rates. RESULTS. A total of 231 patients received DCD grafts. Cholangiograms were available for 184 of these patients. Postoperative cholangiographic findings were correlated with clinical data and divided into the following three groups: A, normal cholangiographic findings with normal laboratory values; B, radiologic abnormalities and cholangiopathy according to laboratory values; and C, radiologic abnormalities without laboratory abnormalities. Group B had four distinct abnormal cholangiographic patterns that were predictive of graft survival. Group C had mild nonprogressive multifocal stenoses and decreased graft and patient survival rates, although cholangiopathy was not detected in these patients according to laboratory data. CONCLUSION. Patterns and severity of nonanastomotic biliary abnormalities in DCD liver transplants can be defined radiologically and correlate with clinical outcomes. Postoperative cholangiography can depict the mild biliary abnormalities that occur in a subclinical manner yet cause a marked decrease in graft and patient survival rates in DCD liver transplants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-984
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Biliary strictures
  • Cholangiopathy
  • Donation after cardiac death
  • Liver transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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