• One hundred eighty-seven patients who presented with symptoms consistent with biliary colic but had no ultrasonic evidence of cholelithiasis were observed in an effort to identify those with a functional gallbladder disorder that might benefit from surgical intervention. All patients underwent quantitative evaluation of gallbladder emptying using cholecystokinin biliary scanning, and ejection fractions less than 35% were considered abnormal. One hundred twenty-nine patients (69%) had abnormal ejection fractions, and 88 (68%) of these subsequently underwent cholecystectomy. Sixty of the surgical specimens revealed pathologic changes. Eighty-four percent of patients successfully contacted for follow-up experienced complete relief, and another 13% had partial relief of preoperative symptoms. Only two patients reported no change in symptom complex. Twenty-nine patients with abnormal ejection fractions elected not to undergo surgery. Fifty-nine percent of these patients continued to experience symptoms of biliary colic at a mean follow-up of 22 months. Of the 44 patients with normal ejection fractions, 35 (80%) reported resolution of symptoms during follow-up of medical treatment. Cholecystokinin biliary scanning can help identify patients with acalculous, functional gallbladder disease who may benefit from cholecystectomy.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:957-960)