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Dig Dis Sci. 2004 Jan;49(1):17-24.

Gallbladder contractility in liver cirrhosis: comparative study in patients with and without gallbladder stones.

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  • 13rd Medical Clinic, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iuliu Hatieganu, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


An increased prevalence of gallstones was demonstrated in patients with liver cirhosis, higher in the advanced stages of the disease. Some studies have found impaired emptying of the gallbladder in cirrhotic patients. Our aim here was to investigate gallbladder emptying in cirrhotic patients with and without gallstones to find out whether emptying is further impaired in the presence of gallstones. The study group comprised 24 patients with liver cirrhosis and gallstones, 8 in each Child class. The controls were represented by 18 cirrhotic patients without gallstones, 6 in each Child class. Fasting gallbladder volume was calculated by ultrasound using the ellipsoid formula. Gallbladder emptying was evaluated for 90 min after ingestion of a solid-liquid meal (14 g fat, 425 kcal), by assessing minimal residual volume, gallbladder ejection fraction, and area under emptying curve at 15-min intervals. Statistical analysis was performed using the two-tailed Students' t test and Pearson's correlation coefficient. In controls, gallbladder fasting and residual volumes increased with the severity of cirrhosis, but gallbladder emptying did not change significantly. In cirrhotics with gallstones, gallbladder emptying decreased in Child C compared with Child A class patients and, also, compared to Child C controls. The number or size of gallstones, as well as the thickness of the gallbladder wall, did not correlate with gallbladder emptying parameters. Gallbladder contractility is impaired in patients with liver cirrhosis and gallstones. Hypomotility is proportional to the severity of liver disease. Gallbladder hypomotility might contribute to the increased gallstone formation in patients with advanced cirrhosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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