An algorithmic approach to early recognition and treatment can minimise the potentially serious complications of gallstone disease.
- Cholelithiasis (one or more gallstones within the gallbladder) is present in 15% of people over 50 years of age, and most patients with an incidental finding of gallstones have no symptoms.
- Complications of cholelithiasis include:
– biliary colic (about 20% of patients)
– acute calculous cholecystitis (3% per annum)
– choledocholithiasis (one or more gallstones within the bile duct; 1 to 2% per annum)
– ascending cholangitis
– acute gallstone pancreatitis (0.5% per annum)
– gallbladder carcinoma (0.5 to 3% lifetime risk).