Bile duct complications

Bile ducts are small ‘drainage pipes’ that carry bile out of the liver

Key points

  • Around 15-20 in 100 patients develop bile duct complications after a liver transplant
  • This is usually a leak or narrowing of the bile ducts
  • Sometimes there is a more serious condition called ischaemic cholangiopathy
  • If you develop ischaemic cholangiopathy, you may need a second liver transplant

Answers to common questions about bile duct complications

More information

Medical terms explained

During a liver transplant, the main bile duct coming out of the donated liver is joined with your main bile duct. Sometimes, this it no possible. In these cases, a loop of small intestine is joined to the main donor bile duct to allow bile to drain. This is called hepaticojejunostomy. 

Ischaemic cholangiopathy 

Damage to one or more bile ducts caused by a lack of blood supply to the ducts.


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