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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 14, Issue 5, Pages 403-405
Original Article

Measurement of Gallbladder Volume with Ultrasonography in Pregnant Women

Sait Kapicioglu,1 Sevgi Gürbüz,2 Ahmet Danalioglu,2 Ömer Sentürk,2 and Mehmet Uslu2

1Karadeniz Technical University, School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology, Trabzon, Turkey
2Social Security Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Received 12 August 1997; Revised 6 January 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fasting and postprandial gallbladder volumes were investigated using ultrasonography in three groups (10 subjects in each) of healthy women: third trimester pregnant women, postpartum women up to 10 days after giving birth and nonpregnant controls. The scans were performed at 09:00 after a 12 h fast. After the basal measurement was taken, gallbladder volumes were rescanned in 15 min intervals for 60 mins. At the end of this period, all volunteers received a standard liquid test meal, and scans were performed again for 1 h. The mean basal gallbladder volume was 22.2±4.2 mL in the nonpregnant (control) group. In the third trimester group, the basal volume was 37.8±10.5 mL – 70.5% higher than in the nonpregnant group (P<0.001). In the postpartum group, the mean basal volume was 37.9% lower (27.4±6.5 mL) than that of the third trimester group (P<0.02). This basal volume was 23.6% greater than that of the control group (P<0.05). After administration of a test meal, the postprandial gallbladder volumes decreased during the first few minutes compared with baseline values. The volumes decreased by 10.2% to 39.8% (23.5±7.3 to 34.0±10.2; P<0.01) in the third trimester group, by 14.9% to 43.2% (16.6±4.3 to 23.3±5.5; P<0.01, 0.001) in the postpartum group and by 19.2% to 51.6% (11.9±3.5 to 17.9±3.6; P<0.02, 0.05, 0.01, 0.001) in the control group. Postprandial mean gallbladder volumes of the third trimester (P<0.02) and postpartum groups (P<0.02 to 0.01) were significantly different from those of the control group. In conclusion, incomplete emptying of the gallbladder after eating during the third trimester of pregnancy may contribute to cholesterol-gallstone formation, and pregnancy may thus increase the risk of gallstones.