Abstract Title:

Natural history of gallstone disease: Expectant management or active treatment? Results from a population-based cohort study.

Abstract Source:

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Apr;25(4):719-24. PMID: 20492328

Abstract Author(s):

Davide Festi, Maria Letizia Bacchi Reggiani, Adolfo F Attili, Paola Loria, Paolo Pazzi, Eleonora Scaioli, Simona Capodicasa, Ferdinando Romano, Enrico Roda, Antonio Colecchia

Article Affiliation:

Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy. [email protected]


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The knowledge of natural history is essential for disease management. We evaluated the natural history (e.g. frequency and characteristics of symptoms and clinical outcome) of gallstones (GS) in a population-based cohort study.

METHODS: A total of 11 229 subjects (6610 men, 4619 women, age-range: 29-69 years, mean age: 48 years) were studied. At ultrasonography, GS were present in 856 subjects (338 men, 455 women) (7.1%). GS were followed by means of a questionnaire inquiring about the characteristics of specific biliary symptoms.

RESULTS: At enrollment, 580 (73.1%) patients were asymptomatic, 94 (11.8%) had mild symptoms and 119 (15.1%) had severe symptoms. GS patients were followed up for a mean period of 8.7 years; 63 subjects (7.3%) were lost to follow up. At the end of the follow up, of the asymptomatic subjects, 453 (78.1%) remained asymptomatic; 61 (10.5%) developed mild symptoms and 66 (11.4%) developed severe symptoms. In subjects with mild symptoms, the symptoms disappeared in 55 (58.5%), became severe in 23 (24.5%), remained stable in 16 (17%); in subjects with severe symptoms, the symptoms disappeared in 62 (52.1%), became mild in 20 (16.8%) and remained stable in 37 (31.1%). A total of 189 cholecystectomies were performed: 41.3% on asymptomatic patients, 17.4% on patients with mild symptoms and 41.3% on patients with severe symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that: (i) asymptomatic and symptomatic GS patients have a benign natural history; (ii) the majority of GS patients with severe or mild symptoms will no longer experience biliary pain; and (iii) a significant proportion of cholecystectomies are performed in asymptomatic patients. Expectant management still represents a valid therapeutic approach in the majority of patients.

Study Type : Meta Analysis

Print Options

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get Nature's Evidence-Based Pharmacy

Our newsletter serves 500,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Download Now

500+ pages of Natural Medicine Alternatives and Information.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2022 GreenMedInfo.com, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.