The purpose of this study was to examine a previous increase in male gallstone disease and to consider the burden of gallstones in a necropsy study with matched controls over a decade. Gallstone prevalence in 5,050 males fell from 20.2% to 19.1% (P=0.022) and in 4,125 females fell from 30.4% to 29.0% (P=0.03). Female gallstone subjects had a higher BMI than controls 24.5 vs. 23.3 (P<0.01), but males did not. Gallstones were twice as common in diabetics, but not with coronary heart disease (CHD). A third of elderly patients of both sexes had gallstones, but cholecystectomy was more common in females, 17:10%. Gallstone-related mortality was 0.7%. The prevalence of gallstones fell slightly. The association between gallstones and diabetes was confirmed, but not for CHD, and for BMI this was confined to females. Gallstones are very common in the elderly, but most are unoperated and seldom cause death.
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