Choledocholithiasis (stone in the bile ducts)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Choledocholithiasis (stone in the bile ducts) (Disease)


Choledocholithiasis is one of the complications of cholelithiasis (gallstones).

Symptoms usually do not occur unless the stone blocks the common bile duct. Symptoms that may occur include: abdominal pain in the right upper or middle upper abdomen, fever, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of skin and whites of eyes), nausea and vomiting. Blockage and infection caused by stones in the biliary tract can be life threatening.

Causes and Risk factors

Gallstones are produced inside the gallbladder, the organ that retains bile excreted from the liver. The stone may be made up of bile pigments or calcium and cholesterol salts. The stones are developed when there is a disorder or changes in the formation of bile.

The second reason is the traces of proteins in the bile along with the liver that can encourage or restrain the process of cholesterol crystallization into gallstones. One risk factor for this is duodenal diverticulum. Complication such as Biliary cirrhosis, Cholangitis and Pancreatitis may accrue.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is confirmed after the following investigation: blood test (bilirubin level, liver enzyme levels, liver function tests, white blood count) and medical imaging (abdominal ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA).

The goal of treatment is to relieve the blockage. Treatment may involve surgery to remove the gallbladder and stones. ...