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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jan;37(1):98-106. doi: 10.1111/apt.12105. Epub 2012 Oct 28.

The rising tide of cholecystectomy for biliary dyskinesia.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA, USA.



Expert consensus defines biliary dyskinesia as a rare disorder of the gall-bladder characterised by pain and impaired gall-bladder function.


To determine trends in cholecystectomy rates for biliary dyskinesia in the United States.


As biliary dyskinesia does not have a distinct diagnosis code, the narrative diagnoses for patients were reviewed and abstracted for 200 patients treated for the most commonly used diagnosis codes for biliary dyskinesia (validation sample). Time trends in cholecystectomies and hospitalisations for biliary diseases were assessed using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) based on codes for cholecystectomy and diagnosis codes for different biliary disorders.


In the validation sample, biliary dyskinesia accounted for 81% of the patients with ICD-9 code 575.8 (gall-bladder disease not elsewhere specified). Between 1997 and 2010, admissions for acute cholecystitis and complications of gallstone disease decreased slightly, whereas admissions with the primary diagnosis code ICD-9 575.8 tripled. This rise was most pronounced in the paediatric population (700% increase), with biliary dyskinesia accounting for more than 10% of cholecystectomies. Compared with acute biliary diseases, significantly more of the elective hospitalisations were covered by private insurances.


Practice patterns differ from expert opinion, with biliary dyskinesia accounting for an increasing fraction of cholecystectomies. The rise in these elective interventions is associated with a shift to a younger, low risk and predominantly privately insured population. Considering the benign nature of biliary dyskinesia, it is time to reassess the need for operative interventions, which have never been compared with active conservative therapy.

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