Real-time sonography for screening of gallbladder motility in diabetic patients: relation to autonomic and peripheral neuropathy.

OBJECTIVES: Diabetes mellitus is known as one of the factors causing the cholesterol gallstone. Gallstone incidence is about 30% in diabetic patients over 20 years of age. Pathophysiology is still not clear. The aim of the present study was to investigate gallbladder (GB) functions in diabetic patients and determine its relationship with peripheral and autonomic neuropathy.

DESIGN: Study was performed between October 2001 and may 2002 in fifty-one diabetic patients of similar age and weight. Diabetic patients (n=51) were chosen randomly among diabetic patients, who were being followed in Diabetes Out-patient clinics of Selcuk University, Meram Medical Faculty. Twenty-eight control subjects were chosen from healthy volunteers. We measured fasting and post-prandial gallbladder volumes and ejection fractions by real-time ultrasonography. The patients were divided into three groups; group A (n=18) had no diabetic autonomic and peripheral neuropathy, group B (n=13) had diabetic peripheral neuropathy, group C (n=13) had diabetic autonomic neuropathy.

RESULTS: No significant difference in any biochemical parameters between diabetic and control group could be found. Fasting gallbladder volume was significantly higher in the diabetic group (5.31 +/- 0.28 cm(3)) compared to control group (4.19 +/- 0.25 cm(3), p<0.01). But there was no difference within diabetic subgroups. Gallbladder ejection fraction was significantly reduced in diabetic patients in groups B and C (29.7 +/- 1.43%, 28.7 +/- 1.28%) compared to group A (44.8 +/- 2.4%; p<0.05, p<0.025 respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Cholesterol crystal formation as a result of increased gallbladder volume and decreased ejection fraction in diabetic patients may result from hypotonicity and stasis and thus this may lead to gallstones.

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