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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cirrhosis: a new, but expected cause of biliary sludge.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Biliary sludge is increasingly recognized as a natural stage in gallstone formation. Logically, cirrhosis, a well-documented cause of black pigment cholelithiasis, should be another condition predisposing to the development of sludge. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of biliary sludge in an unselected population and to test the hypothesis that cirrhosis could be one of the causes of sludge. METHODS: We reviewed the clinical findings and ultrasonograms of 2138 patients, hospitalized or not, consecutively seen in our department between January 1993 and December 1994. Sonograms showing biliary sludge mixed with stones were excluded. Three hundred and eighty-eight of the 2138 were cirrhotic patients. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of biliary sludge was 4%. Sludge was found in 44 of 388 (11%) of the cirrhotic patients (alcoholism, n = 39; chronic viral B hepatitis, n = 3; hemochromatosis, n = 1; and cryptogenic, n = 1), compared with 42 of 1750 (2%) noncirrhotic patients (p < 0.000001). Thirteen cirrhotic patients received intravenous alimentation for 2 to 17 days, 8 were given somatostatin for variceal bleeding, and 7 have previously had 1 to 5 sessions of endoscopic sclerotherapy of esophageal varices with polidocanol. CONCLUSIONS: This study convincingly demonstrates that cirrhosis must be added to the growing list of conditions associated with biliary sludge.[1]


  1. Cirrhosis: a new, but expected cause of biliary sludge. Duchmann, J.C., Joly, J.P., Decrombecque, C., Delcenserie, R., Lévy, S., Capron, D., Capron, J.P. Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
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