A 32 year retrospective review of 24 cases of gallstone ileus from the hospitals of Oregon Health Sciences University has been presented. Nineteen patients (79 percent) were female and 18 (75 percent) were more than 70 years of age. Fifty-four percent of the patients had a correct preoperative diagnosis that correlated well with the roentgenographic findings. Enterolithotomy was the most frequently employed operation, and cholecystoduodenal fistulas were positively identified in 61 percent of the patients. Most obstructions occurred in the distal ileum (48 percent). Wound infections occurred in six patients (26 percent), and there were three deaths for a mortality rate of 13 percent. Of note, the incidence of wound infections and mortality is found to be decreasing. This is related to the more frequent use of prophylactic antibiotics. The controversy regarding performing an enterolithotomy alone versus a one stage procedure has been reviewed and several interesting and atypical cases have been briefly discussed.
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