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World J Gastrointest Surg. 2015 Aug 27;7(8):152-9. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v7.i8.152.

Management and outcome of recurrent gallstone ileus: A systematic review.

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Shovkat Ahmad Mir, Zeiad Hussain, Glenn Vincent Miller, Srinivas Chintapatla, Department of General Surgery, York Teaching Hospital, York YO31 8HE, United Kingdom.



To help the surgeon in decision making when treating a patient with recurrent gallstone ileus (RGSI).


A systematic review related to RGSI was performed using the databases CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE via PubMed from May 1912 to April 2015. All languages were included and the grey literature was also searched. The abstracts were explored for relevance to the topic and full texts obtained as appropriate. A manual search was carried out by scrutinising the reference lists of all the full text articles and further articles were identified and obtained. Total of 903 articles were identified, 656 were excluded after abstract review, 247 full text articles were reviewed and 91 articles selected for final analysis. There were 113 cases of RGSI.


There were 113 cases of RGSI reported in 91 articles. The majority of the recurrences, 62.6%, occurred within 6 wk of the index event. The male to female ratio was 1:7. The mean age was 69.6 years (SD 11.2) with a range of 38-95 years. The small bowel was the commonest site of impaction (92.2%). Treatment data was available for 104 patients. The two main operations performed were: (1) Enterolithotomy without repair of biliary fistula in 70.1% of all patients with a procedural mortality rate of 16.4% (12/73) and (2) a single stage surgery approach involving enterolithotomy with cholecystectomy and repair of the biliary enteric fistula in 16.3% with a procedural mortality of 11.7% (2/17). A subset analysis over last 25 years showed mortality from eneterolithotomy was 4.8% while single stage mortality was 22.2%. Enterolithotomy alone was the commonest operation performed for RGSI with four patients (5.4%) having a further recurrence of gallstone ileus.


Enterolithotomy alone or followed by a delayed two-stage treatment approach is the preferred choice offering low mortality and reduced risk of recurrence.


Biliary-enteric fistula; Gallstone ileus; Intestinal obstruction; Recurrent gallstone ileus

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