[Prevalence of gallstones in the neonatal period]

Ultraschall Med. 1997 Apr;18(2):80-3. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1000522.
[Article in German]


Aim: To assess the prevalence of gallstones in normal neonates.

Method: We used sonography to assess the gallbladder in 3500 unselected infants between 1993 and 1995. Examination was performed during the first four days of life as part of a prospective neonatal screening study evaluating hip and renal abnormalities.

Results: We found sludge or gallstones in 19 children (0.5%). In 4 of 11 patients followed for up to 18 months, the gallstones persisted. In 3 of the cases, there was a family history of gallstones. None of the children had signs of cholestasis. Three were treated with ursodesoxycholic acid 15-20 mg/kg (per day): only one responded.

Conclusion: About 0.5% of neonates have gallstones or gall bladder sludge; this is a higher percentage than previously thought. In one-third of the patients who were followed, the gallstones remained. Persistence was more likely in those with a positive family history for gallstones.

MeSH terms

  • Cholelithiasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cholelithiasis / epidemiology
  • Cholelithiasis / genetics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • Ultrasonography