The prevalence of cholelithiasis (gallstones or previous cholecystectomy) was evaluated in a series of 500 cirrhotic patients from Northern Italy (329 males and 171 females, mean age 58 +/- 11 (SD) yr and 61 +/- 10 yr, respectively). Cirrhosis was related to chronic alcohol abuse in 180 cases, non-A non-B (NANB) hepatitis in 160, hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 94 (including 38 with concomitant alcohol abuse), idiopathic hemochromatosis in 44, and miscellaneous causes in the remaining 22 (including 15 with primary biliary cirrhosis). One hundred and sixteen patients (23.2%) had gallstones, and 31 others (6.2%) had previously undergone cholecystectomy, with an overall prevalence of cholelithiasis of 29.4%. The frequency was similar in both sexes (91/329 males, 27.7% vs. 56/171 females, 32.7%; p = NS), showed a slight increase with age, and differed significantly according to etiology (p less than 0.05), with the highest prevalence in the miscellaneous group and the alcoholics (36.4% and 33.3%, respectively). No significant difference was found in the prevalence of cholelithiasis according to Child's A, B, or C class.