Real-time ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT), and biochemical tests were prospectively performed to detect gallstones in 88 con-secutive patients immediately after the onset of an attack of acute pancreatitis. The sensitivity of biochemical tests was 84.6% when the patients had three or more positives of five parameters [including serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase (AP), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), alanine transaminase (ALT), and alanine transaminase-aspartate transaminase (ALT-AST) ratio]. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 71.8, 98.0, and 86.4% for US, and 52.9%, 100%, and 79.5% for CT. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were improved to 82.1, 100, and 93.2% by the combination of US and CT, and 94.9, 100, and 97.7% by the combination of US and biochemical tests. Adding CT to the combination of US and biochemical tests resulted in only a slight improvement in sensitivity and accuracy. In conclusion, a combination of US and biochemical tests can provide the best noninvasive method in rapidly detecting gallstones as an etiological factor in acute pancreatitis. Computed tomography is not cost-effective. A positive result of biochemical tests despite a negative finding in US calls for an intensive search for gallstones by further investigation with endoscopic retrograde cholangiography or repeated US examinations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism