Six jaundiced patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis and a dominant biliary stricture were managed by endoscopic placement of endoprostheses. Five showed considerable improvement within weeks of stenting: their serum bilirubin concentration fell from mean (range) 266 mumol/l (63-681) to 65 mumol/l (10-280) after one month. One patient required a liver transplant at five months because of continued deterioration in hepatic function. Follow up of 12-49 months in the remaining five patients shows sustained biochemical improvement, with repeat cholangiograms indicating doubling of the minimum calibre of the extrahepatic bile duct in four patients and considerable shortening of stricture length in three. Three patients developed sepsis at the time of the initial endoprosthesis insertion: surgical drainage was necessary in one. Endoscopic methods of improving biliary-enteric drainage in jaundiced patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis may be preferable to surgical and percutaneous methods, which may complicate subsequent liver transplantation.
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