Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy treatment with Dornier HM3 or MPL 9000 machines was applied in 37 patients with problematic bile duct stones. General anaesthesia was not required. After one extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy session 14/37 patients (38%) were spontaneously stone free, and additional endoscopic extraction (eight of 37) and retreatments with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (seven cases) increased the stone free rate to 29/37 (78%). In three patients with intrahepatic stones, the bile ducts could not be evaluated decisively at cholangiography and ultrasonography, but they were all symptom free at 15 to 38 months follow up. If these three patients are added to the radiologically stone free patients, the overall clinical success rate was 32/37 (86%). There were no serious complications, hospital admissions, or 30 day mortality as a result of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy or endoscopic procedures. It is concluded that extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a valuable adjunct to the non-surgical treatment of bile duct stones.
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