What is the morbidity associated with choledochal cysts?

Updated: Jul 01, 2020
  • Author: Emily Tommolino, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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The morbidities associated with choledochal cysts depend on the age of the patient at the time of presentation. Infants and children may develop pancreatitis, cholangitis, and histologic evidence of hepatocellular damage. Adults in whom subclinical ductal inflammation and biliary stasis may have been present for years may present with one or more severe complications, such as hepatic abscesses, cirrhosis, portal hypertension, recurrent pancreatitis, cholangitis, and cholelithiasis.

Cholangiocarcinoma is the most feared complication of choledochal cysts, with a reported incidence of 9-28%. Wu and colleagues exposed cells from a cholangiocarcinoma cell line to bile from patients with choledochal cysts and from controls with structurally normal biliary systems. [22] The bile from the patients with choledochal cysts produced significantly more mitogenic activity in the cancer cell line than the bile from the controls.

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