April 1978

Evaluation of Ultrasound in the Diagnosis of Acute and Chronic Biliary Tract Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery (Drs Thai and Weigelt) and Radiology (Drs Conrad and Landay), University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas.

Arch Surg. 1978;113(4):500-503. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370160158027

• Oral cholecystography and intravenous cholangiography are the two studies most frequently used to confirm the diagnosis of biliary tract disease. Since it is not always practical to obtain these in acutely ill patients, gray scale sonography was evaluated to determine its accuracy. One hundred eight patients had sonography performed prior to operation. The sonogram was correct in 96 of the 108 patients (89%). There were four false-negatives (3.7%), one false-positive (0.9%), and seven patients (6.4%) in whom the study was nondiagnostic. Stones were seen in 88 patients and confirmed in 87 patients for an accuracy of 98.9%. Sonography is a simple, noninvasive procedure by which cholelithiasis can be accurately detected. Because of the high correlation between sonography and operative findings, we suggest that cholecystosonography be used as the initial screening study in patients suspected of having biliary tract disease.

(Arch Surg 113:500-503, 1978)