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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1986 Oct;147(4):729-31.

Bile-duct dilatation after laparotomy: a potential effect of intestinal hypomotility.


Dilatation of unobstructed extrahepatic bile ducts was observed in patients with conditions associated with intestinal hypomotility. For further investigation of this association, a prospective study was undertaken in which the common hepatic duct was measured in 15 patients before and 1 day after laparotomy, when all patients had postoperative paralytic ileus. A statistically significant (p less than 0.01) increase in the mean diameter of the hepatic duct was observed postoperatively. When compared with the preoperative measurement, the mean diameter of the duct almost doubled, from 3.3 to 5.9 mm. This phenomenon may be due to persistent contraction of the sphincter of Oddi that occurs when intestinal hypomotility eliminates the stimuli for cholecystokinin release.

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