Gülden Cancan, Kaya Sarıbeyoğlu, Salih Pekmezci

Department of General Surgery, Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, İstanbul, Türkiye


Objective: The management of asymptomatic cholelithiasis is controversial. Silent gallstones are generally assumed to cause complications after at least one episode of biliary colic. The ratio of those silent stones that had initially caused, -or were diagnosed as the etiological agent of- acute pancreatitis has not been reported in the literature yet. Our study was designed to investigate the ratio of asymptomatic cholelithiasis in acute biliary pancreatitis cases.

Material and Methods: One hundred and seventy-one patients of 305 cases, who were followed up with the diagnosis of acute biliary pancreatitis, were identified retrospectively. Demographic specifications, laboratory findings and clinical progressions of the patients were inspected. Clinical histories were detailed by phone calls. Gallstones were radiologically detected in 85 out of 171 cases. Those patients were divided as symptomatic and asymptomatic. Clinical findings and follow-ups were evaluated by “Chi-square” test.

Results: In the study group, 80% of the patients were asymptomatic (n= 68) and 16.47% of the patients (n= 14) had complicated pancreatitis. Regarding the severity of the clinical course, being symptomatic or not was not identified as a significant factor (p= 0.108). In regard of creating symptoms, the size of the stone was not significant (p= 0.561) and obtained no prediction about the clinical severity of the pancreatitis (p= 0.728).

Conclusion: Asymptomatic cholelithiasis patients had a major percentage in acute biliary pancreatitis cases. The “wait and see” approach should be re-evaluated for silent gallstones in prospective trials.

Keywords: Acute biliary pancreatitis, asymptomatic cholelithiasis, silent gallstones

Cite this article as: Cancan G, Sarıbeyoğlu K, Pekmezci S. Acute pancreatitis: It can be the first sign of silent gallstones. Turk J Surg 2023; 39 (2): 162-168.


Ethics Committee Approval

This study was approved by İstanbul University Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine Deanery Clinical Research Ethics Committee (Decision no: B.30.2.İST., Date: 02.10.2013).

Peer Review

Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions

Concept - SP, GC; Design - SP; Supervision - KS; Funding - GC; Materials - KS; Data Collection and/or Processing - GC; Analysis and/or Interpretation - GC; Literature Review - GC; Writer- GC; Critical Review - SC, KS.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.