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Gall Bladder Removal May Reduce Stroke Risk

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Jun 2019
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Research suggests that gallstone presence may increase the risk of stroke (Photo courtesy of 123RF).
Research suggests that gallstone presence may increase the risk of stroke (Photo courtesy of 123RF).
A new study concludes that cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) may help lower stroke risk in patients with gallstones.

Researchers at Show Chwan Memorial Hospital (SCMH; Changhua, Taiwan), China Medical University (CMU; Taichung, Taiwan), and other institutions conducted a retrospective cohort study using data on 155,356 gallstone patients gathered from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database between 2000 and 2012, in order to characterize stroke risk among gallstone patients, both with and without cholecystectomy. During the study period, 19,096 gallstone patients without cholecystectomy and 11,913 gallstone patients with cholecystectomy suffered a stroke.

The results revealed that both symptomatic and asymptomatic gallstone patients had lower overall stroke risk after cholecystectomy than did asymptomatic gallstone patients without cholecystectomy, regardless of age or other medical conditions. In addition, following gallstone removal, the patients exhibited a significant (40%) decrease in the risk of overall stroke, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke. The study was published on June 5, 2019, in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

“Gallstones and stroke are common diseases worldwide. The relationship between gallstones and stroke has been documented in the literature,” concluded lead author Cheng‐Yu Wei, MD, of the SCMH department of neurology, and colleagues. “Preventive measures for stroke may be considered for gallstone patients, particularly those presenting risk factors for stroke.”

Gallstones are crystalline concretions formed within the gallbladder by accretion of bile components. Although formed in the gallbladder, they may pass distally into other parts of the biliary tract such as the cystic duct, common bile duct, pancreatic duct, or the ampulla of Vater. Their presence can lead to acute cholecystitis, a condition characterized by retention of bile in the gallbladder and often secondary infection by intestinal microorganisms, predominantly Escherichia coli and Bacteroides species. Presence of gallstones in other parts of the biliary tract can cause obstruction of the bile ducts, which can lead to serious life-threatening conditions such as ascending cholangitis or pancreatitis.

Related Links:
Show Chwan Memorial Hospital
China Medical University

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