Increasing gallstone disease prevalence and associations with gallbladder and biliary tract mortality in the US

Hepatology. 2023 Jun 1;77(6):1882-1895. doi: 10.1097/HEP.0000000000000264. Epub 2023 Jan 13.


Background and aims: We examined gallbladder and biliary tract mortality predictors in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1988-1994, with 31 years of linked mortality data, and gallstone disease prevalence trends and associations in NHANES 2017-March 2020 prepandemic data.

Approach and results: In NHANES 1988-1994, 18,794 participants were passively followed for mortality, identified by death certificate underlying or contributing causes, by linkage to the National Death Index through 2019. In NHANES 2017-March 2020, gallstone disease history was ascertained from 9232 adults. During NHANES 1988-2019 follow-up (median, 23.3 y), 8580 deaths occurred from all causes and 72 deaths with gallbladder or biliary tract disease. In multivariable-adjusted analysis, older age, male sex, prediabetes or diabetes, and physical inactivity were associated with gallbladder and biliary tract mortality, and non-Hispanic Black and Mexican American race-ethnicity were inversely associated. Between 1988-1994 and 2017-March 2020, gallstone disease prevalence increased from 7.4% to 13.9% and gallbladder surgery from 6.0% to 11.6%. In 2017-March 2020 in multivariable-adjusted analysis, female sex, diabetes, liver disease, proton pump inhibitors, abdominal pain, increased age, BMI, and liver stiffness were associated with gallstone disease, and non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic Asian race and alcohol were inversely associated.

Conclusions: In the US population, gallstone disease prevalence doubled over 3 decades, possibly because of the worsening of metabolic risk factors and growth of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Gallbladder and biliary tract mortality and gallstone disease associations included factors such as prediabetes or diabetes, liver stiffness and proton pump inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Female
  • Gallstones* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prediabetic State*
  • Prevalence
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors