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blocked bile ducts was posted 05/23/2001 07:55 am by peter argani
E-mail Address: pargani@jhmi.edu

Message Text
Hi Paul: i am sorry i could not reply yesterday. the situation with your father is not uncommon: jaundice associated with blockage of the bile ducts has many causes (including passage of stones, infections, benign tumors and strictures, sclerosing cholangitis and, most worrisome, bile duct carcinoma) and it often takes time to estabish the correct diagnosis. it sounds like the surgeons want to first relieve the bile obstruction which, regardless of the cause, can damage the liver. once he is more stable, they can try to make the diagnosis with a biopsy. this seems like a reasonable approach to me. i wll try to answer your questions as best i can. 1. the time it takes for the liver to be damaged is variable between different patients. it depends in part on the degree of obstruction. what your father's doctors will do is to follow the liver's function using blood tests and scans, so they will know if significant damage has occurred. 2. i don't know of any specialists in the UK. you may want to email or call one of our surgeons listed on this site to see if they do. 3. bile duct cancers are very aggressive tumors, but the prognosis depends upon the stage of the tumor (how far it has spread). the prognosis is somewhat better if the tumor can be excised surgically. the type of surgery that would be appropriate would depend upon where the tumor is in the biliary tree. usually, distal tumors are treated by Whipple resection, proximal tumors near the liver by resection of liver and adjacent bile ducts, and hilar tumors by resection of the bile ducts outside of the liver (see site for diagrams). 4. as above, the main causes i can think of are stones, infections, benign tumors and strictures, sclerosing cholangitis and, most worrisome, bile duct carcinoma.

i hope this is helpful to you. take care peter

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