Gallstone disease: Primary and secondary prevention.Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2006; 20(6):1063-73BP
Several risk factors for cholesterol gallstone formation in the general population have been identified. There is a strongly increased risk of gallstone disease during prolonged fasting, rapid weight loss, total parenteral nutrition, and somatostatin(-analogue) treatment. The annual risk of biliary colic and gallstone complications in asymptomatic gallstone carriers has been investigated sparsely. In asymptomatic and symptomatic gallstone carriers, treatment with the hydrophilic bile salt ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been claimed to reduce the risk of biliary colic and gallstone complications such as acute cholecystitis and acute pancreatitis. Also, prophylactic cholecystectomy could be beneficial in certain subgroups of asymptomatic gallstone carriers. However, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are lacking. In this review, strategies for the prevention of gallstone formation in the general population and in high-risk conditions are dealt with. Also, strategies for the prevention of biliary colic and gallstone complications in asymptomatic and symptomatic gallstone carriers are discussed.