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Mt Sinai J Med. 2006 Dec;73(8):1132-4.

Gallstone ileus: a review.

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Leeds General Infirmary, UK.


This article aims to review gallstone ileus in the literature addressing the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, radiological findings and treatment options of the condition. A literature search was done on gallstone ileus, for the period 1966-2005. Gallstone ileus is a disease of the elderly, causing up to one fourth of non-strangulation intestinal obstructions in patients older than 65 years of age. It is often missed or diagnosed late. The presentation is that of intestinal obstruction preceded by biliary complaints. Radiological features on plain X-rays include features of intestinal obstruction and pneumobilia, and an aberrant gallstone. Treatment depends on the site of the impacted stone, but surgery is needed in many cases. Gallstone ileus is a rare complication of a common condition. Because it primarily affects the elderly, mortality and morbidity are high, although they have improved over the years. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the outcome.

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