Hungarian Radiology

[Role of the first ultrasound examination in the diagnosis of hilar cholangiocarcinoma]

LUKOVICH Péter, WINTERNITZ Tamás, KÁRTESZI Hedvig, ILLYÉS György, KUPCSULIK Péter

OCTOBER 20, 2003

Hungarian Radiology - 2003;77(05)

[INTRODUCTION - Hilar cholangiocarcinoma (Klatskin tumour) rarely causes obstructive jaundice, because rarely thought of that cause during medical examinations. Because the small size of the tumour in the biliary duct and the proximity of other components of the porta hepatis tumour cannot be detected by ultrasound, CT and MRI examinations in a significant part of the cases, which makes the diagnosis more difficult. PATIENTS, METHODS AND RESULTS - In the present study we have analysed the findings of the first abdominal ultrasound examination carried out on 38 patients who had undergone resection due to hilar cholangiocarcinoma during the period 1991-2002. The presence of the tumour could be proved only in 18.2% of the cases. The recognition of the secondary symptoms (dilated intrahepatic biliary ducts, choledochus of normal diameter) is also considered very low (68.2% and 50% respectively). From the viewpoint of the operability of the Klatskin tumour the relationship between the tumour and the blood vessels is important. Only one researcher has made declaration in this sense. The difficulty of detecting the tumour and the incorrect evaluation of the secondary signs led to the wrong ultrasound diagnosis in 82% of the cases, leading the examination astray. CONCLUSIONS - The correctly interpreted ultrasound examination accompanied by a Doppler study - even if it cannot document the tumour - provides evidence of a proximity biliary duct constriction and based on the secondary signs it defines the diagnosis of the Klatskin tumour. In order to judge operability MR-cholangiography is the next modality of choice. In lack of obvious sign of inoperability surgical exploration is justified. In case of an early diagnosis the 25-45% rate of 5-year survival, which is considered a very good result in gastrointestinal tumours, improves further.]

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