Nasobiliary Drainage for Benign Recurrent Intrahepatic Cholestasis in Patients Refractory to Standard Therapy

Tolga Yakar, Mehmet Demir, Huseyin S Gokturk, Ayse G Unler Kanat, Alper Parlakgumus, Birol Ozer, Ender Serin


Purpose: Benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis (BRIC) is characterized by episodic cholestasis and pruritus without anatomical obstruction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of nasobiliary drainage (NBD) in patients with BRIC refractory to medical therapy and to determine whether the use of NBD prolongs the episode duration.

Methods: This was a multicenter retrospective study consisting of 33 patients suffering from BRIC. All patients were administrated medical treatment and 16 patients who were refractory to standard medical therapies improved on treatment with temporary endoscopic NBD. Duration of treatment response and associated complications were analyzed.

Results: Sixteen patients (43% females) underwent 25 NBD procedures. The median duration of NBD was 17 days. There were significant improvements in total and direct bilirubin and alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase on the 3rd day of NBD. Longer clinical remission was monitored in the NBD group. Post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis was observed in one of 16 cases.

Conclusion: NBD effectively eliminates BRIC in all patients and improves biomarkers of cholestasis. It can be suggested that patients with attacks of BRIC can be treated with temporary endoscopic NBD; however, the results of this study should be confirmed by prospective studies in the future.

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