An analysis of omitting biliary tract imaging in 668 subjects admitted to an acute care surgery service with biochemical evidence of choledocholithiasis

Andrew J. Riggle, Michael W. Cripps, Laindy Liu, Madhu Subramanian, Paul A. Nakonezny, Steven Wolf, Herb A. Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background No consensus exists for the timing and utility of biliary imaging in patients with preoperative concern for choledocholithiasis. Methods Admissions to an acute care surgery service with evidence of choledocholithiasis undergoing same-admission cholecystectomy without preoperative or intraoperative imaging were identified. One-way analysis of variance on the log-transformed outcomes, with the Tukey-Kramer multiple comparison procedure, were used to compare means between groups. Results A total of 668 patients with elevated but downtrending liver enzymes underwent cholecystectomy without preoperative or intraoperative imaging. Thirty-eight patients (5.7%) had postoperative biliary imaging, of whom 22 (3.3%) had definite choledocholithiasis. One case of postoperative cholangitis occurred which required readmission and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with no long-term morbidity. Presenting liver enzymes were significantly higher in the group found to have retained stones postoperatively than those without retained stones. Conclusions Patients presenting with biochemical evidence of choledocholithiasis who downtrend preoperatively can be safely managed by cholecystectomy with omission of biliary tract imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1140-1146
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Choledocholithiasis
  • ERCP
  • Intraoperative cholangiogram
  • Liver function tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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