Gallstone ileus: analysis of 21 cases

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José R. Varela
Enrique Petracchi
Matías B. Quesada
Magali Muthular
Luciano Coiz
Héctor Posada
Carlos Canullan
Federico Yazyi


Background: Gallstone ileus is a rare complication of cholelithiasis and mainly affects elder women. It is caused by gallstone migration through a cholecystoenteric fistula producing bowel obstruction, with the need for surgical treatment.
Objective: The aim of this work was to describe the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative variables of a case series of gallstone ileus and the incidence of recurrent gallstone ileus.
Material and methods: We conducted an observational and retrospective study of patients undergoing surgery due to acute bowel obstruction caused by gallstone ileus between January 2009 and December 2021. The variables analyzed were imaging tests, comorbidities, surgical approach, type of surgery, morbidity and mortality and recurrent ileus.
Results: Of 667 patients admitted with bowel obstruction, 21 had gallstone ileus (3.1%). The diagnosis was made by computed tomography scan in 80% of the cases. The surgical approach was laparotomy in 20 cases and 1 patient undergoing laparoscopy required conversion. Enterotomy with enterorrhaphy was the most common procedure used in 18 cases. The obstruction was treated by immediate surgery,
while the biliary fistula was deferred in most cases because the risk of immediate treatment was very high. Morbidity was 38% and recurrence of gallstone ileus 4.7%. No deaths were reported.
Conclusion: Gallstone ileus was a rare condition that was correctly diagnosed and timely treated with surgery, with a low incidence of recurrent gallstone ileus.


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Varela, J. R., Petracchi, E., Quesada, M. B., Muthular, M., Coiz, L., Posada, H., Canullan, C., & Yazyi, F. (2023). Gallstone ileus: analysis of 21 cases. Revista Argentina De Cirugía, 115(3), 233–242. Retrieved from
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