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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2009, Article ID 683040, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/683040
Research Article

Ultrasonographic Study of Gallbladder Wall Thickness and Emptying in Cirrhotic Patients without Gallstones

1Department of Internal Medicine and Internal Specialities, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia n. 86, 95100 Catania, Italy
2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Clinical Pathology and Molecular Oncology, University of Catania, Via Androne 87, 95124 Catania, Italy

Received 2 November 2008; Revised 28 March 2009; Accepted 29 June 2009

Academic Editor: Eldon A. Shaffer

Copyright © 2009 Massimiliano Loreno et al. 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.

Abstract

Background and Aim. Gallbladder wall thickening and impaired contractility are currently reported in cirrhotic patients and often related to portal hypertension and hepatic failure. The purpose of this work was to evaluate, by ultrasonographic method, gallbladder wall thickness and gallbladder emptying after a standard meal in normal subjects and in patients with compensated liver cirrhosis without gallstones. Methods. Twenty-three patients with Child-Pugh class A liver cirrhosis and twenty healthy controls were studied. Gallbladder wall thickness (GWT), gallbladder fasting volume (FV), residual volume (RV), and maximum percentage of emptying (%E) were calculated. Measurements of mean portal velocity, portal vein flow, and serum albumin were performed too. Statistical analysis was assessed by Student's “t test” for unpaired data. Results. GWT was 0 . 6 0 ± 0 . 2 2  cm in cirrhotic patients and 0 . 2 1 ± 0 . 0 6  cm in controls ( 𝑃 < . 0 0 0 1 ). FV and RV were, respectively, 3 7 . 8 ± 3 . 7 c m 3 and 2 1 . 8 ± 3 c m 3 in cirrhotic patients, 2 1 . 9 ± 4 . 2 c m 3 and 4 . 6 ± 2 . 2 c m 3 in healthy volunteers ( 𝑃 < . 0 0 0 1 ). %E was smaller in cirrhotics ( 4 2 . 6 ± 7 . 8 ) as compared to controls ( 8 0 . 3 ± 7 . 2 ; 𝑃 < . 0 0 0 1 ). Conclusions. In patients with compensated liver cirrhosis without gallstones gallbladder wall thickness is increased whereas its contractility is reduced. These early structural and functional alterations could play a role in gallstone formation in more advanced stages of the disease.