Comparison of Adverse Events for Endoscopic vs Percutaneous Biliary Drainage in the Treatment of Malignant Biliary Tract Obstruction in an Inpatient National Cohort.

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JAMA Oncol



MeSH Headings (Medical Subject Headings)

Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biliary Tract Neoplasms, Chi-Square Distribution, Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde, Databases, Factual, Drainage, Female, Humans, Inpatients, Length of Stay, Logistic Models, Male, Multivariate Analysis, Odds Ratio, Patient Selection, Retrospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, United States


IMPORTANCE: Nonsurgical biliary drainage in malignant biliary tract obstruction can be performed endoscopically by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or by percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD). The published body of literature to support either approach is surprisingly sparse, is conflicting on the preferred approach, and is limited by small studies with heterogeneous groups.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the procedure-related adverse event rate with endoscopic vs percutaneous drainage in patients with malignant biliary tract obstruction.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This was a retrospective analysis from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database from 2007 through 2009. Data analysis was performed in 2015. Patients from the NIS database are representative of the US population and are included from both community and tertiary care hospitals in the United States.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Procedure-related adverse event rates.

RESULTS: A total of 7445 patients were included for ERCP and 1690 for PTBD. The overall adverse event rate was 8.6% for endoscopic drainage (640 events) and 12.3% for percutaneous biliary drainage (208 events) (P < .001). When analyzed by type of malignant neoplasm, ERCP was associated with a lower rate of adverse events compared with PTBD for pancreatic cancer (2.9% vs 6.2%; odds ratio [OR], 0.46 [95% CI, 0.35-0.61]; P < .001) and cholangiocarcinoma (2.6% vs 4.2% OR, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.35-1.10]; P = .10). For pancreatic cancer, endoscopic procedures were associated with a lower rate of adverse events regardless of the volume of percutaneous procedures performed by a center. For cholangiocarcinoma, centers that performed a low volume of percutaneous biliary drainage procedures were more likely to have adverse events compared with endoscopic procedures performed at the same center (5.7% vs 2.5%; OR, 2.28 [95% CI, 1.02-5.11]; P = .04). In centers that performed a high volume of percutaneous drainage procedures, rates of adverse events were similar to those of endoscopic adverse events (3.5% vs 3.0%; OR, 1.18 [95% CI, 0.53-2.66]; P = .68).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Our results support the finding that endoscopic biliary drainage for malignant biliary obstruction is a first-line intervention. Endoscopic drainage is superior to percutaneous drainage, in regard to adverse event rate, for patients with pancreatic cancer. For patients with cholangiocarcinoma, endoscopic drainage is superior in centers that perform a low volume of percutaneous biliary drainage procedures.

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Faculty; Northwell Researcher


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

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