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November 3, 1962

The Southwestern American Indian's Burden: Biliary Disease

Author Affiliations

Phoenix, Ariz.

JAMA. 1962;182(5):570-572. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050440062021

IT IS BECOMING increasingly apparent that the prevalence of gallbladder disease is significantly greater among American Indians than among Caucasians. Supportive data in this regard have been reported previously for the Sioux, Navajo, and Pima tribes. The present study concerns biliary disease among Indians of the southwestern United States.

Methods and Material

The Phoenix Public Health Service Indian Hospital serves as a referral for an Indian beneficiary population of over 53,000 located in Arizona, Nevada, California, and Utah. Tribal distribution of the admissions is shown in Table 1.

All pertinent hospital records were studied for fiscal years 1954 through 1961. Death and autopsy information is based on 283 death certificates for adults and 194 autopsy examinations (68.6%). The diagnostic files, medical records, surgical pathological files, operating-room records, hospital cancer registry, and radiographie files were also examined.


During the 8-year period, fiscal 1954 through 1961, 14,161 patients (9,429 adults) were