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Total Bilirubin Is a Useful Predictor of Persisting Common Bile Duct Stone in Gallstone Pancreatitis

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Accepted guidelines for preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in gallstone pancreatitis are lacking. Our previous investigations suggested that serum total bilirubin on hospital Day 2 best predicts persisting common bile duct (CBD) stones. We aim to identify an optimal total bilirubin threshold on hospital Day 2 that would predict persisting CBD stones and guide obtaining preoperative ERCP. Prospective and retrospective data were available from 200 consecutive patients with gallstone pancreatitis at a public teaching hospital from 2003 through 2007. Charts were examined for persisting CBD stones on ERCP and/or intraoperative cholangiography during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Patients with cholangitis (n = 18) were excluded. Nineteen of the remaining 182 (10%) patients had CBD stones. Mean hospital Day 2 bilirubin was 3.7 mg/dL for patients with CBD stones versus 1.4 mg/dL for those without (P < 0.0001). Seventeen patients (9%) had total bilirubin 4 or greater on hospital Day 2. Of these, eight (4%) had CBD stones (specificity 94%). Of the 165 patients with total bilirubin less than 4, 11 (7%) had CBD stones (P < 0.0001). In gallstone pancreatitis, a serum total bilirubin level 4 mg/dL or greater on hospital Day 2 predicts persisting CBD stones with enough specificity to serve as a practical guideline for ERCP while minimizing unnecessary procedures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Departments of Surgery and 2: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; and the 3: Emergency Medicine, Harbor–UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles Biomedical Institute at Harbor–UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 4: From the Departments of Surgery and, Los Angeles Biomedical Institute at Harbor–UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Publication date: 01 October 2008

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