Case report: Closed-loop bowel obstruction secondary to a double gallstone ileus

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2021 Dec;89:106612. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2021.106612. Epub 2021 Nov 18.


Introduction and importance: In this paper, we report an unusual case of a closed-loop bowel obstruction secondary to a double gallstone ileus. This type of pathology constitutes an emergency, and requires prompt surgical intervention to prevent further complications.

Presentation of case: The patient was a 90-year-old female who came to our emergency room with a clinical picture compatible with an acute abdomen. Imaging tests performed included a plain radiograph and abdominal CT-scan, which confirmed the diagnosis. The patient was then transferred to the operating room, and an open double enterolithotomy was performed, extracting two cylindrical gallstones with a diameter of over 2.5 cm. No treatment was given for either the gallbladder nor the biliary-enteric fistula due to the patient's physical status.

Clinical discussion: Gallstone ileus is a rare entity, but must be taken into consideration when a patient with an abdominal obstruction arrives to the emergency department, especially when signs such as pneumobilia or visualization of the stones are detected by imaging tests. Early surgical intervention is required to avoid complications. However, addressing the biliary-enteric fistula at the same time is a sensitive procedure that may not be advisable, depending on the status of the patient. This report includes a bibliographic review of existing cases of gallstone ileus and the specifics of its diagnosis and management.

Conclusion: This pathology can lead to serious complications if not managed properly. Prompt diagnosis and surgical intervention are essential to avoid complications such as intestinal gangrene and perforation. Inspecting the entire intestine during surgery is crucial for removing any additional gallstones that may be present to prevent the reappearance of symptoms.

Keywords: Emergency surgery; Enterolitothomy; Gallstone; Ileus; Obstruction; Rigler.