JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
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Incidence of and potential risk factors for gallstone disease in a general population sample.

BACKGROUND: Several epidemiological studies have been published, but there are few reports on relations between gallstone incidence, symptomatology and risk factors.

METHODS: Of 621 randomly selected individuals aged 35-85 years in a general population who had been screened previously with ultrasonography and found to have no gallbladder stones, 503 (81.0 per cent) were re-examined after a minimum interval of 5 years. At baseline and re-examination, heredity for gallstone disease was explored and body mass index, digestive symptoms including abdominal pain, quality of life, alcohol and smoking habits, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oestrogen, parity and blood lipid levels were recorded.

RESULTS: Forty-two (8.3 per cent) of the 503 subjects developed stones. Subjects were followed for a total of 3025.8 person-years, yielding an incidence for newly developed gallstones of 1.39 per 100 person-years. A positive association for gallstone development was found only for length of follow-up and plasma low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels at baseline. Weekly alcohol consumption was inversely related to gallstone development.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of gallstones in this population was 1.39 per 100 person-years. Gallstone development was related to length of follow-up and LDL-cholesterol levels, and inversely related to alcohol consumption.

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