In the present study, we investigated a new sonographic test to confirm or exclude partial common bile duct (CBD) obstruction, hereinafter called “dynamic cholangio-cholecysto sonography (DCCS).” Healthy controls (6) and patients with low- to intermediate probability for partial CBD obstruction (17) were investigated. DCCS started with three baseline masurements of gallbladder volume and CBD diameter, which were then repeated every 2 to 3 min for 45 min during a 30-min infusion of ceruletid. According to CBD diameter change during gallbladder contraction, DCCS was considered positive (> 1 mm), negative (< 0.5 mm) or equivocal (remainder). After DCCS, all patients underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERCP) and all but one patient had endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST). A follow-up examination was performed at least 4 weeks after ERCP. Based on these results, an outcome score was calculated to classify the patients as having a flow-relevant CBD obstruction or not. DCCS was true positive in 4 patients (sensitivity 66%, positive predictive value 100%). DCCS was false-negative in 1 patient and equivocal in another patient. DCCS was true-negative in 9 patients (specifity 82%, negative predictive value 90%). Two patients without flow-relevant CBD obstruction had equivocal DCCS test results. DCCS might be used as a noninvasive test for further workup of patients with low- to intermediate probability of flow relevant CBD obstruction, helping to avoid unnecessary ERCP and to serve as an additional indication for ERCP and EST.
Common bile duct (CBD) stones are missed frequently on transabdominal ultrasonography (sensitivity, 15%-40%). The detection of CBD stones is impeded by the presence of gas in the duodenum, possible reflection and refraction of the sound beam by the curvature of the duct, and the location of the duct beyond the optimal focal point of the transducer.
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