Practical recommendations for the prediction and management of common bile duct stones in patients with gallstones

N A Kama, M Atli, M Doganay, M Kologlu, E Reis, M Dolapci
Surgical Endoscopy 2001, 15 (9): 942-5

BACKGROUND: Approximately 10% of patients with symptomatic gallstones may have associated common bile duct stones (CBDS). However, the predictive value of noninvasive tests as well as the preoperative diagnosis and management of CBDS have not been well defined. The aim of this study was to define an accurate and simple model for the prediction and management of CBDS.

METHODS: A prospective database containing 986 cholecystectomies performed from 1994 through 1999 was evaluated. Univariate analysis using the Pearson chi-square test was performed to determine the factors significantly related to the presence of CBDS. Then logistic regression analysis was performed for multivariate analysis to discover independent predictors.

RESULTS: Of the 986 patients in this study, 48 (5%) had CBDS. Of the 48 patients with choledocholithiasis, 22 (46%) were men and 26 (54%) were women. The mean age was 55.3 years (range, 16-87 years). As a result of multivariate analysis, abdominal ultrasonographic findings suggestive of CBDS (common bile duct diameter exceeding 8 mm or visible stones), total bilirubin, and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase levels above normal were the independent predictors of CBDS in patients age 70 or younger. On the other hand, an elevated bilirubin level was found to be the single independent factor related to CBDS in the elderly.

CONCLUSIONS: For patients with gallstones, suggestive ultrasonographic findings in those younger than 71 years and elevated direct or total bilirubin level in those older than 70 years are the most valuable and practical predictors of CBDS, and thus are the proper indications for preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiography.

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