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Am J Gastroenterol. 1995 Jul;90(7):1125-9.

Symptoms of post-extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy: long-term analysis of gallstone patients before and after successful shock wave lithotripsy.

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Department of Medicine C (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), Academic Hospital, University of Mainz, Ludwigshafen, Germany.



Considerable information is presently available about stone-free rates after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) of gallbladder stones. Another important item and one that has been poorly investigated is symptom relief after successful ESWL. The aim of the present trial was to determine the course of biliary and gastrointestinal symptoms after successful ESWL of gallstones.


Ninety patients were followed for an average of 18 months after stone disappearance and discontinuation of oral bile acids. A standardized questionnaire was combined with a clinical and ultrasound examination. Relief of symptoms was correlated to patient characteristics, stone volume, and gallbladder functions.


Twelve patients (13%) developed recurrent stones. The probability of stone recurrence was 5.5% (+/- 2.5%) after 1 yr, 12% (+/- 4.5%) after 2 yr, and 30.5% (+/- 9.5%) after 3 yr. Sixty-two of 78 stone-free patients were asymptomatic (80%). Most patients lost their typical biliary symptoms, but statistics also revealed significant differences of nonspecific symptoms and food intolerances pre- and postlithotripsy.


This trial has confirmed that patients with symptomatic gallstone disease exhibit a wide spectrum of symptoms, many of which are relieved by ESWL. The fact that at least every fifth patient is not free of symptoms after the gallstone has been removed is in keeping with the findings after cholecystectomy. According to our data, recurrence rate after successful ESWL is higher than previously reported and similar to results after oral litholysis, with no differences between single and multiple stones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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