Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy in the treatment of gallbladder lithiasis. The first 109 patients.

A P Correia, L C Ribeiro, L F Contente, M C de Moura


The AA report their 15-month experience with extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in the treatment of gallbladder stones (GS). The selection criteria included symptomatic patients, with 1 to 3 radiolucent stones in a functioning gallbladder. All patients were put on adjuvant therapy with 10 mg/Kg weight/day of ursodeoxycholic acid (ursodiol). ESWL sessions were performed in an ambulatory setting, using high-energy shock-waves (mean: 23 Kv) until fragments < or = 4mm were obtained, if possible. By the end of December 1992, 109 patients had completed the ESWL protocol, undergoing a total of 265 sessions (mean: 2.4 sessions per patient, variation 1-5). The stone-free (SF) rates and respective 95% confidence intervals were 31% (22%-43%) at 6 months and 59% (38%-76%) at 1 year of follow-up. For the subset of patients with a single stone < or = 2 cm (n = 59), were 47% (33%-63%) at 6 months and 77% (40%-95%) at 1 year. The most significant complication was acute biliary pancreatitis, of which we report 4 cases (4%). They were always mild and non-complicated. There was no mortality. The AA conclude that ESWL is a safe and effective treatment for selected patients with GS.

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