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September 1920


Author Affiliations

Resident Surgeon, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital BOSTON

Arch Surg. 1920;1(2):310-335. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1920.01110020105003

Next to appendicitis, gallbladder disease is probably the commonest intra-abdominal lesion. This is evidenced both by the reports of operative procedure and by necropsy statistics. Mitchell,1 in 1918, reporting the gallstone incidence in 1,600 necropsies of all ages, gave a comprehensive report of 122,808 postmortems from American and European sources. Among them were 7,022 gallstone cases, or an average of 5.7 per cent. In 1914, Hesse2 in a somewhat similar report found 4,848 gallstone cases, or 6 per cent, in 80,802 postmortems. The usual age at which the necropsy was performed in this latter series was 60-70 years. It is interesting to note that among these 4,848 cases in only 16 per cent there were symptoms referable to gallstones.

In accepting such figures one must consider (1) that they concern for the most part elderly people in whom cholelithiasis or gallbladder disease is more to be expected; (2)

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