Endoscopic sphincterotomy in the management of posttraumatic biliary fistula

Paul J. Scioscia, Peter W. Dillon, Robert E. Cilley, Wayne C. Hoover, Thomas M. Krummel

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44 Scopus citations


Complications after nonoperative management of hepatic trauma are rare but include persistent biliary fistula in 4% of cases. Therapy usually involves surgical drainage or hepatic resection to control the fistula. The authors present a case of hepatic biliary fistula treated nonoperatively with percutaneous drainage and endoscopic sphincterotomy. A 16-year-old girl suffered a grade III parenchymal liver fracture to the right lobe in an automobile accident. She was hemodynamically stable with no coexistent injuries and was treated nonoperatively. Over 2 weeks her total bilirubin rose to 3.2 mg/dL, and alkaline phosphatase was 463 U/L. Ultrasound showed free intraperitoneal fluid, and 2 L of bilious fluid were retrieved by paracentesis. A radionuclide scan confirmed massive extravasation of isotope from the right lobe. Two drains percutaneously placed over the parenchymal fracture produced 500 to 600 mL of bile daily. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) 1 week later showed a normal extrahepatic biliary system. A 1-cm sphincterotomy was performed without difficulty. Within 72 hours, percutaneous drains produced only 35 mL per day. The follow-up radionuclide scan showed no evidence of extrahepatic biliary extravasation, and 3 weeks later the drains were removed. Six months after the accident, results of the computerized tomography scan and liver function tests were normal. It was believed that endoscopic sphincterotomy reduced fistula output by decreasing the intrabiliary pressure caused by the ampulla, thus favoring internal drainage. This case demonstrates the effectiveness of endoscopic sphincterotomy as an alternative to direct surgical intervention for the management of posttraumatic biliary fistula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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