Intravenous Morphine for Augmentation of Postoperative T-tube Cholangiograms in Liver Transplant Recipients with Choledocho-choledochal Anastomoses

Wael E.A. Saad, Ian J. Wilson, Mark G. Davies, Karin E. Westesson, Wael M. Darwish, David L. Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To determine the effectiveness of augmenting T-tube cholangiography by using intravenous morphine in orthotopic liver transplant recipients with choledocho-choledochostomies and poor filling of intrahepatic biliary ducts and to determine factors that may increase the likelihood of nonfilling of intrahepatic ducts. Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of T-tube cholangiograms obtained in orthotopic liver transplant recipients was performed. Intravenous morphine had been given by two of five operators to augment T-tube cholangiograms with poor filling of bile ducts. Patients with malpositioned tubes and decompressive bile leaks were excluded from morphine diagnostic efficacy evaluation but were included in the overall cholangiogram diagnostic yield. Anastomotic narrowing, if present, was graded as follows: >50%, 20%-50%, and <20% diameter reduction. Patients with intrahepatic bile duct filling were compared to those without filling with regard to age, sex, time from transplantation, and clinically significant (>50%) stenoses. Results: One hundred sixty-eight cholangiograms were obtained in 127 recipients. Twenty-three of the 168 cholangiograms (13.7%) had malpositioned/blocked T-tubes and five (3%) had decompressive leaks; 140 cholangiograms had well-positioned tubes and no leaks. Twenty-two of the 140 cholangiograms with well-positioned tubes and no leaks (15.7%) had nonfilling of peripheral bile ducts. Morphine (range, 2-6 mg; mean, 4 mg) had been used in 13 cases. Adequate filling after morphine was noted in 12 of the 13 cases (92%), and no complications occurred. Morphine improved adequate diagnostic examination of well-positioned patent T-tubes from 85% (123/145) to 93% (135/145). No parameters helped predict inadequate filling in well-positioned tubes (P > .05). Conclusions: In 92% of cases, intravenous morphine was successful in opacifying the biliary tract without complications. In well-positioned T-tubes, the use of morphine increased diagnostic yield from 85% to 93%. No predictors for inadequate filling were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1320-1328
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Intravenous Morphine for Augmentation of Postoperative T-tube Cholangiograms in Liver Transplant Recipients with Choledocho-choledochal Anastomoses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this