Therapeutic investigations in primary sclerosing cholangitis
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There is no consensus about the necessity and the possibility of therapy in primary sclerosing cholangitis. In some patients rapid deterioration of liver function may occur due to recurrent cholangitis and cholestasis. In one such patient, we obtained radiological evidence that the cholestasis was caused, not entirely by end-stage fibrotic scarring as interpreted upon surgical exploration, but, at least in part, by biliary stasis secondary to marked irregular narrowing of the extrahepatic bile ducts, together with precipitate formation. Moreover, the biliary ductular narrowing appeared to be partly reversible, indicating that edema and inflammation were responsible for part of the narrowing. These observations prompted us to evaluate topical lavage by nasobiliary drainage, first with saline, and then followed by corticosteroid solution in eight consecutive patients with recurrent cholangitis. Based upon clinical and biochemical evaluation, our preliminary results may be summarized as favorable. However, a large-scale multicenter controlled study will be required to prove the usefulness of this approach.
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