Re-Rising of Total Bilirubin Level after Postoperative Day 3 (The V Pattern) Predicting Liver Failure and Survival of Patients who Underwent Hepatectomy for Cholangiocarcinoma

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.

2 Department of Surgery, Saraburi Hospital, Saraburi, Thailand.

3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.


Objective: All types of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) require a major hepatectomy, which has many post-operative complications. All complications usually present with persistent hyperbilirubinemia; however, studies on the prediction of post-operative hyperbilirubinemia after hepatectomy for patients with CCA are lacking. We evaluated the causes and patterns of persistent hyperbilirubinemia among the patients who underwent hepatectomy for CCA. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 216 CCA patients who underwent curative-intent hepatic resection between January 2015 and December 2016. We identified five patterns of hyperbilirubinemia for predicting the cause of persistent hyperbilirubinemia and the respective patient outcome. All clinical parameters and outcomes were analyzed for any significant associations. Results: Twenty-eight patients (24%) had post-operative persistent hyperbilirubinemia. Of these, liver failure was the most common cause (42.9%), followed by bile leakage (14.3%), then cholangitis (3.6%). Re-rising of the bilirubin level after post-operative day 3(the ‘V’ pattern), very well predicted liver failure. Moreover, this pattern was associated with poor survival of the patient. Conclusion: The current study provided a picture of persistent hyperbilirubinemia after hepatectomy for CCA. The proportion of post-operative liver failure was 12 percent. The pattern of serum bilirubin level could be used as a predictor of liver failure and long-term outcomes of CCA patients. The ‘V’ pattern was significantly associated with a high rate of liver failure and poor survival.


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