What are the potential complications associated with percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage?
Even in the absence of clinical signs of cholangitis, bile in an obstructed system is often colonized with bacteria. Biliary sepsis, a potentially lethal complication, may occur during or after a cholangiogram or biliary drainage. Antibiotics should be given during biliary drainage procedures, and patients should be monitored closely for signs of sepsis. Injury to blood vessels adjacent to the bile ducts within the hepatic parenchyma may be associated with pseudoaneurysm formation, hemorrhage, and hemobilia. Bile leakage with bile peritonitis and complications related to intraprocedural sedation (respiratory failure and aspiration) may occur. Pneumothorax and reactive or bilious pleural effusions are uncommon complications if care is taken during initial needle placement.