Duodenoscopic Sphincterotomy in Patients with Gallbladders in Situ: Report of a Series of 1272 Patients

J. H. Siegel, L. Safrany, J. S. Ben‐Zvi, W. E. Pullano, A. Cooperman, M. Stenzel, W. H. Ramsey

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We present a prospective, unrandomized, uncontrolled series of 1272 patients in whom endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) was performed, and who had not previously undergone cholecystectomy. These patients were culled from our combined experience of a total of 4177 patients in whom ES was performed over the last 13 yr. Of the group reported here, 1208 patients had demonstrable gallbladder stones, and 64 had acalculous gallbladders. The group included 896 females and 396 males whose mean age was 73.3 yr and who ranged from 17 to 101 yr old. Cholangitis was present in 317 patients (25%), and gallstone pancreatitis in 134 (10.5%) patients. After sphincterotomy, 109 patients (8.6%) developed cholecystitis; 23 developed this within 48 h, and 86 developed this within 10 days of the procedure. Emergency surgery was performed on 25 of these patients, and 84 responded to medical therapy alone. Two deaths occurred within 30 days of sphincterotomy (0.15%), in both cases following emergency surgery in elderly patients. One hundred‐eight patients underwent elective cholecystectomy within 3 yr of their sphincterotomy because of recurrent symptoms referrable to the biliary tract. In a subset of 337 patients in whom long‐term followup was possible, two patients died of complications related to recurrent cholecystitis, both at approximately 2 yr after sphincterotomy. Although followup was less than optimal in this large series of patients, the data presented here suggest that an intact gallbladder is not a contraindication to ES in the management of common bile duct stones, and that the morbidity and mortality of ES compare favorably over the long and short term with surgical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255-1258
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


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