AIM: To identify factors that were related to the short term effectiveness of percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage in cholangiocarcinoma patients and to evaluate the impact of palliative drainage on their survival. METHODS: Seventy-four patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma who underwent percutaneous biliary drainage were enrolled in the study. The demographic and laboratory data as well as the imaging characteristics were retrospectively analyzed to correlate with the bile output and reduction rate of serum bilirubin 1 wk after drainage. RESULTS: Patients with more bile duct visualized on percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography or absence of multiple liver metastases on imaging studies had more bile output after biliary drainage [odds ratio (OR): 8.471, P = 0.010 and OR: 1.959, P = 0.022, respectively]. Patients with prolonged prothrombin time had a slow decrease in serum bilirubin (OR: 0.437, P = 0.005). The median survival time was not significantly different in patients with low or high bile output (75 d vs 125 d, P = 0.573) or in patients with slow or rapid reduction of serum bilirubin (88 d vs 94 d, P = 0.576). CONCLUSION: The short term effectiveness of percutaneous biliary drainage was related to patient's prothrombin time or the extent of tumor involvement. It, however, had no impact on survival.
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