Can ultrasound common bile duct diameter predict common bile duct stones in the setting of acute cholecystitis?

Joshua A. Boys, Michael G. Doorly, Joerg Zehetner, Kiran K. Dhanireddy, Anthony J. Senagore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background Our aim is assessment of ultrasound (US) common bile duct (CBD) diameter to predict the presence of CBD stones in acute cholecystitis (AC). Methods A retrospective review from 2007 to 2011 with codes for ultrasound, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and AC was conducted. Results The incidence of CBD stones was 1.8%. Two hundred forty eight individuals had US+MRCP+ERCP+AC, of which 48 had CBD stones and 200 did not have CBD stones. US CBD diameter range was 3.6 to 19 mm. Ninety percent of MRCPs were negative, and it delayed care by 2.9 days. Mean CBD diameter was narrower in those negative for CBD stones (5.8 vs 7.08; P =.0043). Groups based on diameter ranges <6, 6 to 9.9, and ≥10 mm demonstrated 14%, 14%, and 39% CBD stones, respectively. Conclusions US CBD diameter is not sufficient to identify patients at significant risk for CBD stones. MRCP delayed care by 2.9 days. Intraoperative cholangiography may be more effective, based on the low risk of CBD stones in AC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-435
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Choledocholithiasis
  • Common bile duct diameter
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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