European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology vol:24 issue:8 pages:905-9
OBJECTIVE: Hemobilia is an uncommon cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. The etiology is diverse, but most often, it is iatrogenic. The present study aims to reassess the clinical picture and the treatment of choice. METHODS: We describe a case series from a single center of patients who presented with nontraumatic iatrogenic hemobilia. RESULTS: Over a period of 8 years, hemobilia occurred in 12 patients: following liver biopsy in six patients and after endoscopic biliary interventions in four patients, with a respective prevalence of 0.1 and 0.04%. The clinical presentation was characterized by an upper gastrointestinal bleeding (n=11) and/or biochemical signs of sudden biliary obstruction (n=9). The onset of the symptoms occurred after a median of 6 days (range: 1-23). Ultrasound and computed tomography scan missed the diagnosis in, respectively, 4/5 and 2/5 of patients. On arteriography, pseudoaneurysm (6/12) was the most common finding. Transcatheter arterial embolization controlled the bleeding in all cases (12/12) without major complications. CONCLUSION: The delay between the intervention and the clinical presentation and the fact that imaging studies may fail to diagnose hemobilia may mislead the physician. Transcatheter arterial embolization is the treatment of choice for hemobilia. It has proven to be effective and safe and it offers a long-term definitive cure.