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Pediatr Surg Int. 2018 Aug;34(8):845-849. doi: 10.1007/s00383-018-4300-y. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Is 14 the new 40: trends in gallstone disease and cholecystectomy in Australian children.

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The Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
, 77 Garden St, Alexandria, NSW, 2015, Australia.
The Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.



Gallstone disease and cholecystectomy have been uncommon in paediatric patients and associated with haemolytic disease and prematurity. Many countries have observed an increase in the prevalence of paediatric gallstones and cholecystectomy with increasing childhood obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine any trend in prevalence in Australian children and the role of obesity.


Chart review was conducted for patients undergoing cholecystectomy under 18 in 25 years between 1992 and 2016. Patients were grouped based on year of operation into five groups of 5 years each. Patient demographics including age and gender were noted, as were weight, height, and percentiles. Also noted were comorbidities, indication for surgery, whether elective or emergent, and procedure performed. Statistical analysis was performed using logistic regression on R-Studio®.


Seventy-nine patients were included, 9, 15, 18, 18, and 19 in Groups 1-5, respectively. A trend was noted of increasing frequency which did not reach statistical significance. Nineteen patients had alternative explanations for gallstone disease, decreasing over time, coefficient - 10.5. A trend was also noted of increasing proportion of patients in higher percentiles for weight, which was statistically significant for those above the 98th percentile.


The changing profile of paediatric cholecystectomy is a little recognised aspect of the 'obesity epidemic'. This has implications when considering the impact of childhood overweight and obesity, and for clinicians involved in the diagnosis and management of these children.


Childhood obesity; Cholecystectomy; Gallstones

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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