BACKGROUND: Some of patients with an intact gall bladder develop acute cholecystitis or have gall bladder stone formation after endoscopic sphincterotomy. Endoscopic sphincterotomy may affect gall bladder motility. AIMS: To prospectively evaluate longterm effect of endoscopic sphincterotomy on gall bladder motility. PATIENTS: Thirty two patients with an intact gall bladder (15 with and 17 without gall bladder stones) who underwent endoscopic sphincterotomy for choledocholithiasis. METHODS: Gall bladder function was examined before and at from seven days to five years after sphincterotomy. Gall bladder volume, at fasting and after caerulein administration, was determined by ultrasonography. RESULTS: After endoscopic sphincterotomy, the enlarged orifice remained patent during a five year follow up period. One patient with gall bladder stones subsequently developed acute cholecystitis, the remaining being asymptomatic. In the patients before sphincterotomy, particularly in those with gall bladder stones, the gall bladder showed larger fasting volume and lower caerulein stimulated maximum contraction than normal controls. Throughout five years after sphincterotomy, fasting volume of the gall bladder decreased and its maximum contraction increased, regardless of gall bladder stones; significantly different from the values before sphincterotomy (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopic sphincterotomy decreases fasting volume of the gall bladder and increases its contraction ability for a long period. These changes may rather decrease the risk of future acute cholecystitis or gall stone formation.
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