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Surg Endosc. 2010 May;24(5):1011-6. doi: 10.1007/s00464-009-0716-8. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Ten years of Swedish experience with intraductal electrohydraulic lithotripsy and laser lithotripsy for the treatment of difficult bile duct stones: an effective and safe option for octogenarians.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.



Endoscopic procedures using electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL) or intraductal laser lithotripsy (ILL) are the methods of choice for managing difficult common bile duct (CBD) stones. This retrospective study examined 10 years of Swedish experience using a mother-baby endoscopic system to assist in the fragmentation of CBD stones by EHL and ILL.


Between 1995 and 2006, 44 patients with a median age of 80 years underwent EHL or ILL at two Swedish centers after conventional endoscopic fragmentation of CBD stones had failed. Long-term follow-up assessment was conducted for 9 to 126 months (median, 53 months).


Final stone clearance after EHL or ILL treatment with or without additional conventional endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was achieved for 34 (77%) of 44 patients. The results for 10 patients (23%) were defined as failures. Complete or partial stone fragmentation and definitive duct clearance were achieved in one session for 23 patients (52%). A second EHL or ILL attempt made in five cases of primary failure led to definitive stone clearance in three cases. Two patients experienced perioperative complications (stone basket impaction). Mild post-ERCP pancreatitis occurred for one patient and cholangitis for two patients. During long-term follow-up evaluation, recurrent CBD stones were found in one patient.


Peroral endoscopic EHL or ILL, under direct cholangioscopic visualization by a mother-baby endoscopic system, is an effective treatment for difficult CBD stones. The technique can be used safely even in frail and elderly patients. However, several endoscopic attempts may be required before final stone clearance is achieved. The vast majority of patients may be expected to remain symptom free for a prolonged period.

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