This study was carried out to assess pancreatic duct abnormalities in gall stone disease. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatograms of 50 patients with gall stone disease were analysed and the results compared with those obtained in 33 patients investigated for cholestatic jaundice who were found to have a normal biliary tree (control group). Abnormal pancreatograms were obtained in 24 (48%) patients with gall stone disease and in only two (6%) in the control group; the differences were statistically significant (chi 2 = 14.3; p less than 0.001). The patients in the control group showed mild abnormalities as did those in the gall stone group. The frequency of various abnormalities were: mild 16 (32%), moderate five (10%), and severe three (6%). Pancreatic duct abnormalities were more severe and occurred more frequently in patients with gall stones who had stones in the biliary tree than in patients with a normal biliary tree (postcholecystectomy patients, 55% v 25%) but the difference between the two groups just failed to be significant (chi 2 = 3.34). In conclusion, nearly half of all patients with gall stone disease have pancreatic duct abnormalities and in 16% these were severe enough to be labelled as chronic pancreatitis.
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