Ascending cholangitis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Epidemiology and Demographics

In the Western world, about 15% of all people have gallstones in their gallbladder but the majority are unaware of this and have no symptoms. Over ten years, 15–26% will suffer one or more episodes of biliary colic (abdominal pain due to the passage of gallstones through the bile duct into the digestive tract), and 2–3% will develop complications of obstruction: acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis or acute cholangitis. Prevalence of gallstone disease increases with age and body mass index (a marker of obesity). However, risk is also increased in those who lose weight rapidly (e.g. after weight loss surgery) due to alterations in the composition of the bile that makes it prone to form stones. Gallstones are slightly more common in women than in men, and pregnancy increases the risk further.[1]


  1. Bateson MC (June 1999). "Fortnightly review: gallbladder disease". BMJ 318 (7200): 1745–8. PMID 10381713.

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