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Incidence of and potential risk factors for gallstone disease in a general population sample. BJS 2009; 96: 1315-1322.

Published: 21st October 2009

Authors: I. Halldestam, E. Kullman, K. Borch

Background

Several epidemiological studies have been published, but there are few reports on relations between gallstone incidence, symptomatology and risk factors.

Method

Of 621 randomly selected individuals aged 35–85 years in a general population who had been screened previously with ultrasonography and found to have no gallbladder stones, 503 (81·0 per cent) were re‐examined after a minimum interval of 5 years. At baseline and re‐examination, heredity for gallstone disease was explored and body mass index, digestive symptoms including abdominal pain, quality of life, alcohol and smoking habits, use of non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs and oestrogen, parity and blood lipid levels were recorded.

Results

Forty‐two (8·3 per cent) of the 503 subjects developed stones. Subjects were followed for a total of 3025·8 person‐years, yielding an incidence for newly developed gallstones of 1·39 per 100 person‐years. A positive association for gallstone development was found only for length of follow‐up and plasma low‐density lipoprotein‐cholesterol levels at baseline. Weekly alcohol consumption was inversely related to gallstone development.

Conclusion

The incidence of gallstones in this population was 1·39 per 100 person‐years. Gallstone development was related to length of follow‐up and LDL‐cholesterol levels, and inversely related to alcohol consumption. Copyright © 2009 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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