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Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography (ptca)

Risks

It is possible to have serious bleeding from this test. In some cases, blood leaks to the outside surface of the liver and causes a buildup of blood there. In other cases, blood can leak directly into the liver's drainage system, in which case it might start showing up in your intestine, causing a bloody bowel movement. It is possible that you could develop an infection after the test, although this is rare. The only soreness you are likely to have is at the skin surface where the needle went in. This should last for only a day or two.

In rare cases, the dye used in the test can damage your kidneys. This kidney effect is almost always temporary, but some people have permanent damage.

Because x-rays are used, there is a small exposure to radiation. In large amounts, exposure to radiation can cause cancers or (in pregnant women) birth defects. The amount of radiation from the video x-ray in this test is very small—too small to be likely to cause any harm. (The people performing the test will wear lead shields, since they would otherwise be exposed to this radiation over and over.)

From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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