Aim: To define the risk factors in gallstone and sludge formation, and to investigate the incidence of gallstone and biliary sludge formation during pregnancy in a group of healthy pregnant women.
Methods: Sixty-nine healthy pregnant women in early gestation and 28 nulliparous healthy controls were enrolled. Gallbladder volumes, gallbladder ejection fraction (GBEF), serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels were determined in both groups. In the pregnant group, repeated measurements were performed immediately after delivery and compared with initial levels. Risk factors, which are associated with gallstone and biliary sludge development during pregnancy, were determined by linear regression analysis.
Results: No statistically significant difference was observed in the assessed parameters of pregnant women in early gestation and controls (both P > 0.05). In the pregnant group, gallstone and biliary sludge development during pregnancy were detected in 6.3% and 10.9% of cases, respectively. The detected parameters were significantly higher early after delivery than in early gestation, while GBEF was lower (both P < 0.001). Lower GBEF was the most significant factor (P < 0.001) associated with gallstone and sludge formation during pregnancy, while multiple childbirths was the other (P = 0.04).
Conclusion: Decrease in GBEF is the most significant risk factor for newly developed gallstone and sludge in pregnant women, while multiple childbirths is the other but less important risk factor.