The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate endoscopic ultrasonography and microscopic examination of duodenal bile in the diagnosis of cholecystolithiasis not detected by conventional ultrasonography. Forty five consecutive patients (26 females, 19 males, mean age: 50 years) with suspected cholecystolithiasis and at least two normal transcutaneous ultrasonography examinations were included. Endoscopic ultrasonographic criteria for the diagnosis of cholecystolithiasis were the presence of stones with or without acoustic shadowing or sludge. Criteria of microscopic examination of bile were cholesterol or bilirubinate crystals or spheroliths. Thirty three patients underwent cholecystectomy and lithiasis was found in gall bladder bile in 24. Twelve patients who were not operated on and were followed up (median: 17 months), had no evidence of cholecystolithiasis. Endoscopic ultrasonography and duodenal bile examination were 96% and 67% sensitive, respectively (p < 0.03). The specificity was not different (86 and 91%, respectively). None of the 16 patients with negative results in both procedures had evidence of cholecystolithiasis. It was found that for the diagnosis of cholecystolithiasis in patients with normal conventional ultrasonography, the sensitivity of endoscopic ultrasonography is higher than that of microscopic examination of duodenal bile. If endoscopic ultrasonography and microscopic examination of duodenal bile are negative, the risk of underdiagnosing cholecystolithiasis is negligible.
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