Prevalence of asymptomatic cholelithiasis and risk of acute cholecystitis after kidney transplantation

Transplantation. 1997 Apr 15;63(7):1030-2. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199704150-00023.


Prophylactic cholecystectomy for asymptomatic cholelithiasis is sometimes required before transplantation. However, there is little indication in the literature that transplant recipients are at any greater risk than individuals in the general population. Between January 1990 and December 1993, 211 renal transplant recipients underwent duplex sonography. All were asymptomatic. Twenty-one had positive findings: gallstones were found in 15 patients (7.11%) and sludge was found in 6 (2.84%). Of gallstone patients, seven (3%) were men and eight (4%) were women. One gallstone patient also had diabetes mellitus. The mean age by gender of the patients with calculi was 54 years for men and 38 years for women. Thirteen of the 15 patients with calculi (87%) have remained asymptomatic. Two patients (one diabetic) developed acute cholecystitis and underwent uncomplicated laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Patients with sludge were similar in gender and age to patients with gallstones; one patient had diabetes. No sludge patients became symptomatic. The incidence and morbidity of gallstones after kidney transplantation are low. Prophylactic cholecystectomy in asymptomatic patients before transplantation is not justified.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholecystitis / etiology*
  • Cholelithiasis / complications
  • Cholelithiasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholelithiasis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography