Biliary lithotripsy: in vitro analysis of gallstone fragmentation for equivalent stone volumes.
The relationship between gallstone fragmentation during extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) and gallstone volume is poorly understood. Clinical results of ESWL show that the highest stone-free rate at 6 months occurs with radiolucent single gallstones 20 mm or less in diameter. In an in vitro study, individual gallstones from cholecystectomy specimens were divided by size and composition into nine single- and nine multiple-stone groups; the stones were then paired on the basis of similar volume. ESWL was performed in a phantom and the size of the largest fragment was measured at 500, 1,000, and 1,500 shock waves. At 1,500 shock waves, sandlike particles were present in six of nine single stones versus two of nine multiple stone groups; the mean size of the largest fragment at 1,500 shock waves was 2.1 mm (single) and 4.4 mm (multiple) in diameter. When corrected for volume, the authors' data suggest that single stones are more easily broken into fragments smaller than 5 mm in diameter than multiple gallstones. The implication, especially when spark-gap technology is used, is that more shock wave energy (ie, an increased number of shock waves at a higher kilovoltage) will be necessary to achieve the same results when treating patients with multiple stones versus a single gallstone with a similar stone volume.
Torres, WE; Baumgartner, BR; Jones, MT; Nelson, RC
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