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Biliary dyskinesia: A potentially unrecognized cause of abdominal pain in children

by Breedan T. Campbell, Nathan P. Narasimhan, Eustace S. Golladay, Ronald B. Hirschl
Pediatric Surgery International ()
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Biliary dyskinesia is defined as symptomatic biliary colic without cholelithiasis, and is diagnosed during cholescintigraphy by assessing gallbladder emptying with cholecystokinin (CCK) stimulation. Unfortunately, gallbladder emptying is not routinely assessed during cholescintigraphy in pediatric patients. The purpose of this review is to assess the effectiveness of cholecystectomy in patients with chronic abdominal pain and delayed gallbladder emptying and to assess whether these findings correlate with the histologic evidence of chronic cholecystitis. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients ( n=16) at our institution from October 1997 to August 2001 who underwent quantitative cholescintigraphy with CCK stimulation that demonstrated delayed gallbladder emptying (< 35% at 60 min) and who subsequently underwent cholecystectomy. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed in 16 patients with chronic abdominal pain. All 16 patients had delayed gallbladder emptying (mean ejection fraction: 15+/-8%, range: 3-32%). The mean age was 12+/-2 years (range: 8-17 years). Presenting symptoms included abdominal pain (86%), fatty food intolerance (27%), emesis (13%), and diarrhea (13%). Mean duration of abdominal pain before operation was 11+/-19 months (range: 2 weeks-6 years). One patient's symptoms persisted postoperatively, but abdominal pain resolved in all other patients. Histologic evidence of chronic cholecystitis was demonstrated in 86% of surgical specimens. Five patients underwent concurrent appendectomy, and all had normal appendiceal histology. Our experience suggests that children with chronic abdominal pain and delayed gallbladder emptying on CCK-stimulated cholescintigraphy are likely to benefit from cholecystectomy and to have histologic evidence of chronic cholecystitis.

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