Sensitivity and specificity of microscopic examination of gallbladder bile for gallstone recognition and identification

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Abstract

During cholecystectomy, gallbladder bile and gallstones were obtained from 77 patients and gallbladder bile was obtained from 39 patients free of stones (11 patients had biliary stenosis). According to their chemical composition, gallstones were classified as cholesterol (n = 46) or pigment (n = 31) stones. In patients with gallstones (a) cholesterol crystals better helped to identify cholesterol gallstones (sensitivity, 87%; specificity, 97%; positive predictive value, 97%) than did an abnormal cholesterol saturation index of bile (sensitivity, 93%; specificity, 48%; positive predictive value, 73%); (b) the presence of cholesterol crystals was significantly related to the cholesterol content of gallstones and the bile cholesterol saturation index; and (c) bilirubinate crystals, when present alone (without cholesterol crystals), were good predictors of pigment gallstones (sensitivity, 71%; specificity, 93%; positive predictive value, 88%). In the absence of stones, bilirubinate crystals were present in 9 of 28 patients without biliary stenosis (4 with alcoholic cirrhosis and 2 with alcoholic pancreatitis) and 8 of 11 patients with biliary stenosis. In the absence of stones, cholesterol crystals were present in 2 of 28 patients without biliary stenosis and in 4 of 11 patients with biliary stenosis, suggesting that bile stasis can induce cholesterol crystal formation. © 1988.

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Ramond, M. J., Dumont, M., Belghiti, J., & Erlinger, S. (1988). Sensitivity and specificity of microscopic examination of gallbladder bile for gallstone recognition and identification. Gastroenterology, 95(5), 1339–1343. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-5085(88)90370-8

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