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Z Gastroenterol. 1999 Dec;37(12):1157-62.

[Prevalence of cholecystolithiasis in South Germany--an ultrasound study of 2,498 persons of a rural population].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung Innere Medizin I der Universit├Ąt Ulm.


Gallbladder stones represent one of the most common reason for morbidity in western industrial nations. There remains a paucity of exact information regarding the prevalence and risk factors for this disease entity in Germany. As part of a whole-community survey focusing on the prevalence of echinococcosis multilocularis conducted in a population in southwestern Germany (response rate: 66.6%), 2,560 subjects underwent an upper abdominal ultrasound examination at which the presence of gallbladder stones was ascertained. In each case, upper abdominal sonography was performed following completion of a standardized interview. In 62 subjects, the gallbladder could not be adequately visualized due to an insufficient fasting period; the remaining 2,498 subjects (1,326 females, age 38.9 +/- 19.9 years; 1,172 males, age 37.7 +/- 18.8 years) were included in the study collective. Gallbladder stones (sonographically visualized gallbladder stones or history of cholecystectomy for cholecystolithiasis) were found in 196 participants (7.8%; 139 females [10.5%] versus 57 males [4.9%]). Statistical treatment of the data using multiple logistical regression techniques revealed a significant influence of the variables age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and positive family history on the development of gallbladder stones. The prevalence of gallbladder stones in the present study population is lower than figures reported for a study in Brandenburg and at 7.8% is rather low in comparison with other European studies. One explanation may be the low average age of study participants, almost 50% of whom were less than 35 years. Besides age, subjects' gender, BMI and positive family history were identified as significant risk factors.

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