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J Gastrointest Surg. 2013 Nov;17(11):2020-4. doi: 10.1007/s11605-013-2301-7. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

Bouveret's syndrome complicated by classic gallstone ileus: progression of disease or iatrogenic?

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Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.



Bouveret's syndrome is a rare variant of gallstone ileus resulting in gastroduodenal obstruction from an impacted gallstone. We report two cases of Bouveret's syndrome that were complicated by classic (distal) gallstone ileus, which has previously been reported only twice. The first patient presented with vomiting, epigastric pain, and what was initially believed to be a duodenal diverticulum on computed tomography scan and endoscopy. He initially improved, but later developed symptoms of a small bowel obstruction. Repeat imaging revealed a classic distal gallstone ileus. The second patient presented with nausea, abdominal pain, and imaging consistent with Bouveret's syndrome. Multiple non-operative endoscopic techniques and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy were employed to fragment and retrieve the obstructing stone, and she subsequently developed a distal gallstone ileus from a stone fragment. Both patients were managed operatively with enterotomy and stone removal.


These cases highlight a rare complication of Bouveret's syndrome, classic (distal) gallstone ileus, and juxtapose the natural history of a stone passing versus an iatrogenic etiology. We review the presentation and management of Bouveret's syndrome though no clear consensus exists as to the optimal treatment of these patients. We recommend that therapy should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

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