, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 102-110
Date: 15 Mar 2008

Mirizzi syndrome

Opinion statement

Mirizzi syndrome is an important complication of gallstone disease. If not recognized preoperatively, it can result in significant morbidity and mortality. Preoperative diagnosis may be difficult despite the availability of multiple imaging modalities. Ul-trasonography (US), CT, and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) are common initial tests for suspected Mirizzi syndrome. Typical findings on US suggestive of Mirizzi syndrome are a shrunken gallbladder, impacted stone(s) in the cystic duct, a dilated intrahepatic tree, and common hepatic duct with a normal-sized common bile duct. The main role of CT is to differentiate Mirizzi syndrome from a malignancy in the area of porta hepatis or in the liver. MRI and MRCP are increasingly playing an important role and have the additional advantage of showing the extent of inflammation around the gallbladder that can help in the differentiation of Mirizzi syndrome from other gallbladder pathologies such as gallbladder malignancy. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is the gold standard in the diagnosis of Mirizzi syndrome. It delineates the cause, level, and extent of biliary obstruction, as well as ductal abnormalities, including fistula. ERCP also offers a variety of therapeutic options, such as stone extraction and biliary stent placement. Percutaneous cholangiogram can provide information similar to ERCP; however, ERCP has an additional advantage of identifying a low-lying cystic duct that may be missed on percutaneous cholangiogram. Wire-guided intraductal US can provide high-resolution images of the biliary tract and adjacent structures. Treatment is primarily surgical. Open surgery is the current standard for managing patients with Mirizzi syndrome. Good short-and long-term results with low mortality and morbidity have been reported with open surgical management. Laparoscopic management is contraindicated in many patients because of the increased risk of morbidity and mortality associated with this approach. Endoscopic treatment may serve as an alternative in patients who are poor surgical candidates, such as elderly patients or those with multiple comorbidities. Endoscopic treatment also can serve as a temporizing measure to provide biliary drainage in preparation for an elective surgery.