Could saline irrigation clear all residual common bile duct stones after lithotripsy? A self-controlled prospective cohort study

Yan Yan Lin, Yu Dong Wang, Ping Yue, Xian Zhuo Zhang, Joseph W. Leung, Pan Pan Jiao, Man Yang, Hai Ping Wang, Bing Bai, Ying Liu, Jin Duo Zhang, Hong Bo Chen, Wen Bo Meng, Xun Li

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1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND A previous study showed that irrigation with 100 mL saline reduced residual common bile duct (CBD) stones, which potentially cause recurrent stones after endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. AIM To determine whether saline irrigation can improve CBD clearance after lithotripsy. METHODS This prospective self-controlled study enrolled patients receiving mechanical lithotripsy for large (> 1.2 cm) CBD stones. After occlusion cholangiography confirmed CBD stone clearance, peroral cholangioscopy (POC) was performed to determine clearance scores based on the number of residual stones. The amounts of residual stones spotted via POC were graded on a 5-point scale (score 1, worst; score 5, best). Scores were documented after only stone removal (control) and after irrigation with 50 mL and 100 mL saline, respectively. The stone composition was analyzed using infrared spectroscopy. RESULTS Between October 2018 and January 2020, 47 patients had CBD clearance scores of 2.4 ± 1.1 without saline irrigation, 3.5 ± 0.7 with 50 mL irrigation, and 4.6 ± 0.6 with 100 mL irrigation (P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that CBD diameter > 15 mm [odds ratio (OR) = 0.08, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.01-0.49; P = 0.007] and periampullary diverticula (PAD) (OR = 6.51, 95%CI: 1.08-39.21; P = 0.041) were independent risk factors for residual stones. Bilirubin pigment stones constituted the main residual stones found in patients with PAD (P = 0.004). CONCLUSION Irrigation with 100 mL of saline may not clear all residual CBD stones after lithotripsy, especially in patients with PAD and/or a dilated (> 15 mm) CBD. Pigment residual stones are soft and commonly found in patients with PAD. Additional saline irrigation may be required to remove retained stones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-370
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Common bile duct gall stones
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Periampullary diverticula
  • Peroral cholangioscopy
  • Prospective cohort study
  • Saline irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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