Optimizing gallbladder stone lithotripsy: an international survey.
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Rates of stone clearance with extracorporeal shock wave cholecystolithotripsy (biliary lithotripsy [BL]) initially reported by European groups were encouraging. An American multicenter BL study (the Dornier National Biliary Lithotripsy Study [DNBLS]) did not reproduce these results. The BL treatment strategies and 6-month stone clearance rates of six leading European and Japanese centers were compared with those of DNBLS. All foreign centers used adjuvant oral chemolitholysis and greater shock wave energies from the same lithotriptor as that in DNBLS. Six months after BL, the stone clearance rates at all six centers were higher than those of DNBLS. There were no significant differences in complication rates between centers. These findings suggest that the poor results of DNBLS were chiefly due to the use of low kilovoltage and few BL sessions. Increased energy levels and a fragment size end point of less than 5 mm optimize BL. Despite the popularity of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, BL can be recognized as a successful treatment alternative for patients with a low burden of radiolucent stones.
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