Posttraumatic bile leaks: Role of diagnostic imaging and impact on patient outcome

Keith W. Fleming, Brian C. Lucey, Jorge A. Soto, M. Elizabeth Oates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of bile leaks on patient morbidity and hospital course following blunt and penetrating liver trauma. Forty patients who underwent hepatobiliary scintigraphy after trauma were included. Scintigraphic results were classified as follows: free intraperitoneal bile leak, contained bile leak, and no bile leak. Outcomes measured were length of hospital stay, number of procedures required, and number of subsequent imaging studies. Bile leaks were identified in 25% of patients. Eight percent had free intraperitoneal leaks, 18% contained bile leaks, and 73% had no bile leak. One study was nondiagnostic due to poor hepatic function. Mean hospitalization was as follows: free bile leak group, 53 days; contained bile leak group, 10 days; no bile leak group, 14 days. Patients with free intraperitoneal bile leak had more imaging studies and procedures than patients without free bile leak. Patients with liver injury and free intraperitoneal bile leak have longer hospitalizations and undergo more therapeutic procedures than those without, who respond to conservative management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-107
Number of pages5
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Bile leak
  • Biliary trauma
  • Diagnosis
  • Hepatobiliary scintigraphy
  • Liver trauma
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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