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Percutaneous cholecystolithotomy: is gall stone recurrence inevitable?
  1. J J Donald,
  2. S Cheslyn-Curtis,
  3. A R Gillams,
  4. R C Russell,
  5. W R Lees
  1. Department of Radiology, Middlesex Hospital, London.


    Using radiological interventional techniques the gall bladder can be cleared of stones with a high success rate. As with any treatment option that leaves the gall bladder in situ there is an accompanying risk of stone recurrence, which is currently unknown for the radiological method. One hundred patients were studied prospectively to determine the recurrence rate of stones and clinical outcome after successful percutaneous cholecystolithotomy. Follow up included both clinical assessment and ultrasound examination at 3, 6, and 12 months and then annual intervals thereafter. The overall stone recurrence rate was 31% at a mean follow up of 26 months (range, 3-50 months). By actuarial life table analysis, the cumulative proportion of gall stone recurrence was 7, 19, 28, 35, and 44% at 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months respectively. Of the 31 patients with recurrent stones; 17 remain asymptomatic, seven have experienced biliary colic, two abdominal pain, three non-specific upper gastrointestinal symptoms, and two jaundice secondary to common duct stones. Thirteen of the stone free patients have remained symptomatic; six with abdominal pain and seven with nonspecific upper gastrointestinal symptoms. Eight patients have subsequently had a cholecystectomy. No significant difference was found between the sex of the patient or the number of stones before treatment and the stone recurrence rates. The cumulative stone recurrence rate was significantly less in the 56 patients who received adjuvant chemolitholysis (p < 0.05). These data show that stone recurrence after successful percutaneous cholecystolithotomy occurs in the minority, and is usually asymptomatic. It is concluded that the technique remains justified in the management of selected patients with gall stones.

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