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1.  Imaging tests for accurate diagnosis of acute biliary pancreatitis 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(44):16544-16549.
Gallstones represent the most frequent aetiology of acute pancreatitis in many statistics all over the world, estimated between 40%-60%. Accurate diagnosis of acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) is of outmost importance because clearance of lithiasis [gallbladder and common bile duct (CBD)] rules out recurrences. Confirmation of biliary lithiasis is done by imaging. The sensitivity of the ultrasonography (US) in the detection of gallstones is over 95% in uncomplicated cases, but in ABP, sensitivity for gallstone detection is lower, being less than 80% due to the ileus and bowel distension. Sensitivity of transabdominal ultrasonography (TUS) for choledocolithiasis varies between 50%-80%, but the specificity is high, reaching 95%. Diameter of the bile duct may be orientative for diagnosis. Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) seems to be a more effective tool to diagnose ABP rather than endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which should be performed only for therapeutic purposes. As the sensitivity and specificity of computerized tomography are lower as compared to state-of-the-art magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) or EUS, especially for small stones and small diameter of CBD, the later techniques are nowadays preferred for the evaluation of ABP patients. ERCP has the highest accuracy for the diagnosis of choledocholithiasis and is used as a reference standard in many studies, especially after sphincterotomy and balloon extraction of CBD stones. Laparoscopic ultrasonography is a useful tool for the intraoperative diagnosis of choledocholithiasis. Routine exploration of the CBD in cases of patients scheduled for cholecystectomy after an attack of ABP was not proven useful. A significant rate of the so-called idiopathic pancreatitis is actually caused by microlithiasis and/or biliary sludge. In conclusion, the general algorithm for CBD stone detection starts with anamnesis, serum biochemistry and then TUS, followed by EUS or MRCP. In the end, bile duct microscopic analysis may be performed by bile harvested during ERCP in case of recurrent attacks of ABP and these should be followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i44.16544
PMCID: PMC4248197  PMID: 25469022
Biliary; Pancreatitis; Lithiasis; Endoscopic ultrasonography; Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
2.  Sickle cell cholangiopathy: An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography evaluation 
AIM: To evaluate the role of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD).
METHODS: Two hundred and twenty four SCD patients with cholestatic jaundice (CJ) had ERCP. The indications for ERCP were based on clinical and biochemical evidence of CJ and ultrasound findings.
RESULTS: Two hundred and forty ERCPs were performed. The indications for ERCP were: CJ only in 79, CJ and dilated bile ducts without stones in 103, and CJ and bile duct stones in 42. For those with CJ only, ERCP was normal in 42 (53.2%), and 13 (16.5%) had dilated bile ducts without an obstructive cause. In the remaining 22, there were bile duct stones with or without dilation. For those with CJ, dilated bile ducts and no stones, ERCP was normal in 17 (16.5%), and 28 (27.2%) had dilated bile ducts without an obstructive cause. In the remaining 58, there were bile ducts stones with or without dilation. For those with CJ and bile duct stones, ERCP was normal in two (4.8%), and 14 (33.3%) had dilated bile ducts without an obstructive cause. In the remaining 26, there were bile duct stones with or without dilatation.
CONCLUSION: Considering the high frequency of biliary sludge and bile duct stones in SCD, endoscopic sphincterotomy might prove helpful in these patients.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.5316
PMCID: PMC2776859  PMID: 19908340
Sickle cell disease; Hepatobiliary; Cholestsatic jaundice; Sickle cell hepatopathy; Sickle cell cholangiopathy; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
3.  Prospective evaluation of a selective approach to cholangiography for suspected common bile duct stones 
INTRODUCTION
Common bile duct (CBD) stones can cause serious morbidity or mortality, and evidence for them should be sought in all patients with symptomatic gallstones undergoing cholecystectomy. Routine intra-operative cholangiography (IOC) involves a large commitment of time and resources, so a policy of selective cholangiography was adopted. This study prospectively evaluated the policy of selective cholangiography for patients suspected of having choledocholithiasis, and aimed to identify the factors most likely to predict the presence of CBD stones positively.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Data from 501 consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) for symptomatic gallstones, of whom 166 underwent IOC for suspected CBD stones, were prospectively collected. Suspicion of choledocholithiasis was based upon: (i) deranged liver function tests (past or present); (ii) history of jaundice (past or present) or acute pancreatitis; (iii) a dilated CBD or demonstration of CBD stones on imaging; or (iv) a combination of these factors. Patient demographics, intra-operative findings, complications and clinical outcomes were recorded.
RESULTS
Sixty-four cholangiograms were positive (39%). All indications for cholangiogram yielded positive results. Current jaundice yielded the highest positive predictive value (PPV; 86%). A dilated CBD on pre-operative imaging gave a PPV of 45% for CBD calculi; a history of pancreatitis produced a 26% PPV for CBD calculi. Patients with the presence of several factors suggestive of CBD stones yielded higher numbers of positive cholangiograms. Of the 64 patients having a laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LCBDE), four (6%) required endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for retained stones (94% successful surgical clearance of the common bile duct) and one (2%) for a bile leak. Of the 335 patients undergoing LC alone, three (0.9%) re-presented with a retained stone, requiring intervention. There were 12 (7%) requiring conversion to open operation.
CONCLUSIONS
A selective policy for intra-operative cholangiography yields acceptably high positive results. Pre-operatively, asymptomatic bile duct stones rarely present following LC; thus, routine imaging of the biliary tree for occult calculi can safely be avoided. Therefore, a rationing approach to the use of intra-operative imaging based on the pre-operative indicators presented in this paper, successfully identifies those patients with bile duct stones requiring exploration. Laparoscopic bile duct exploration, performed by an experienced laparoscopic surgeon, is a safe and effective method of clearing the bile duct of calculi, with minimal complications, avoiding the necessity for an additional intervention and prolonged hospital stay.
doi:10.1308/003588410X12628812458293
PMCID: PMC3080093  PMID: 20223077
Bile duct stones; Intra-operative imaging; Pre-operative indicators; Cholangiography
4.  Identifying Patients Most Likely to Have a Common Bile Duct Stone After a Positive Intraoperative Cholangiogram 
Gastroenterology & Hepatology  2014;10(4):240-244.
The false-positive rates of a positive intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC) are as high as 60%. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for stone removal is required after a positive IOC. It is unclear which clinical factors identify patients most likely to have a stone after a positive IOC. This study was conducted to identify factors predictive of common bile duct (CBD) stone(s) on ERCP after a positive IOC. A retrospective review of our endoscopic database identified all ERCP and/or endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) procedures performed for a positive IOC between August 2003 and August 2009. Collected data included patient demographics; indication for cholecystectomy; IOC findings; blood tests before and after cholecystectomy, including liver function tests, complete blood count, and amylase and lipase measurements; and ERCP and/or EUS results. Patients who had a negative EUS for CBD stones and no subsequent ERCP were contacted by phone to see if they eventually required an ERCP. Univariate and multi-variable analyses were performed. A total of 114 patients were included in the study. IOC findings included a single stone, multiple stones, nonpassage of contrast into the duodenum, dilated CBD, and poor visualization of the bile duct. Eighty-four percent of patients had ERCP only, 9% had EUS only, and 7% had EUS followed by ERCP. Sixty-five patients (57%) had CBD stones on ERCP or EUS. Older age, multiple stones, dilated CBD on IOC, and elevated postcholecystectomy bilirubin levels were the clinical variables with statistically significant differences on univariate analysis. On multivariable analysis, older age and elevated postcholecystectomy total bilirubin levels correlated with the presence of CBD stones on ERCP. Fifty-seven percent of patients referred for endoscopic evaluation after a positive IOC had CBD stones on ERCP. Patients with CBD stones after a positive IOC were more likely to be older with elevated post-cholecystectomy total serum bilirubin levels.
PMCID: PMC4073535  PMID: 24976807
Common bile duct stone; intraoperative cholangiogram; endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogra-phy; endoscopic ultrasound
5.  The Efficacy of Preoperative Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography in the Detection and Clearance of Choledocholithiasis 
Background and Objectives:
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography has been reported to have a high success rate in the detection and treatment of choledocholithiasis. Although there is growing enthusiasm for laparoscopic common bile duct clearance, many patients who present with gallbladder disease and suspected choledocholithiasis have endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography performed with choledocholithiasis cleared if detected. These patients are then referred for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in the diagnosis and clearance of bile duct stones at our institution.
Methods:
A retrospective review was performed of all patients at this institution who underwent preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography for suspected choledocholithiasis followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy from January 1997 through July 1998.
Results:
Common bile duct stones were detected endoscopically in 12 of 17 (71%) patients. We found serum bilirubin level to be the best predictor of choledocholithiasis. In 12 of 12 procedures, the endoscopist performed an endoscopic sphincterotomy with stone extraction and reported a fully cleared common bile duct. Intraoperative cholangiogram performed during subsequent cholecystectomy revealed choledocholithiasis in 4 of these 12 patients. Laparoscopic techniques successfully cleared the choledocholithiasis in 3 of these patients with open techniques necessary in the fourth.
Conclusions:
Our data suggests that even after presumed successful endoscopic clearance of the bile duct stones, many patients (33% in our series) still have choledocholithiasis present at the time of cholecystectomy. We recommend intraoperative cholangiography at the time of cholecystectomy even after presumed successful endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with further intervention, preferably laparoscopic, to clear the choledocholithiasis as deemed necessary.
PMCID: PMC3015383  PMID: 10917116
Choledocholithiasis; Preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Laparoscopic common bile duct clearance
6.  Endoscopic extraction of bile duct stones: management related to stone size. 
Gut  1993;34(12):1718-1721.
Endoscopic sphincterotomy has become the first line treatment for patients with common bile duct (CBD) stones. This technique may fail, however, due to difficult anatomy, previous surgery, periampullary diverticula or the presence of a large stone. The importance of stone size to the success of endoscopic sphincterotomy has not been fully assessed. A prospective study was carried out over the period January 1987 to December 1989 on 100 patients (45 male, 55 female, median age 69 years, range 19-97) with CBD stones in which a policy of early duct clearance was followed. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was performed and the stone size and number recorded from the cholangiograms and corrected for magnification. Sphincterotomy was performed using a diathermy unit with a cutting current and stones were extracted using a balloon catheter or a Dormia basket. Of the 100 patients with CBD stones receiving ERCP, successful clearance of the biliary tree was possible in seven without endoscopic sphincterotomy and five were felt to be unsuitable for endoscopic sphincterotomy. Of the remaining 88 patients endoscopic sphincterotomy was successful in 75 (85%). Of the 75 patients having endoscopic sphincterotomy stone clearance was successful in 44 (59%). There were no deaths and only four complications, which rapidly resolved on conservative treatment (two acute pancreatitis, two bleeding). The number of CBD stones present was similar in those patients with successful endoscopic sphincterotomy and duct clearance (median 1, range 1-10, n = 44) as in those in whom it failed (median 2, range 1-6, n = 31). In contrast there was a highly significant difference when stone size was analysed (successful clearance median stone size 10 mm, range 3-27 mm; unsuccessful: median 18 mm, range 10-42, p<0.001). Stones less than 10 mm in diameter (n=21) were all removed successfully whereas in patients with stones over 15 mm (n=25) only three were removed endoscopically (12%). All patients with evidence of residual stones had additional treatment. Of these 31 patients, 10 had surgery, 11 had insertion of an endoprosthesis, and 10 had dissolution treatment with methyl-tert-butyl ether through a nasobiliary catheter. This study shows the importance of stone size to the success rate of endoscopic removal of bile duct stones.
PMCID: PMC1374470  PMID: 8282260
7.  How do we manage post-OLT redundant bile duct? 
AIM: To address endoscopic outcomes of post-Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) patients diagnosed with a “redundant bile duct” (RBD).
METHODS: Medical records of patients who underwent OLT at the Liver Transplant Center, University Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Texas were retrospectively analyzed. Patients with suspected biliary tract complications (BTC) underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). All ERCP were performed by experienced biliary endoscopist. RBD was defined as a looped, sigmoid-shaped bile duct on cholangiogram with associated cholestatic liver biomarkers. Patients with biliary T-tube placement, biliary anastomotic strictures, bile leaks, bile-duct stones-sludge and suspected sphincter of oddi dysfunction were excluded. Therapy included single or multiple biliary stents with or without sphincterotomy. The incidence of RBD, the number of ERCP corrective sessions, and the type of endoscopic interventions were recorded. Successful response to endoscopic therapy was defined as resolution of RBD with normalization of associated cholestasis. Laboratory data and pertinent radiographic imaging noted included the pre-ERCP period and a follow up period of 6-12 mo after the last ERCP intervention.
RESULTS: One thousand two hundred and eighty-two patient records who received OLT from 1992 through 2011 were reviewed. Two hundred and twenty-four patients underwent ERCP for suspected BTC. RBD was reported in each of the initial cholangiograms. Twenty-one out of 1282 (1.6%) were identified as having RBD. There were 12 men and 9 women, average age of 59.6 years. Primary indication for ERCP was cholestatic pattern of liver associated biomarkers. Nineteen out of 21 patients underwent endoscopic therapy and 2/21 required immediate surgical intervention. In the endoscopically managed group: 65 ERCP procedures were performed with an average of 3.4 per patient and 1.1 stent per session. Fifteen out of 19 (78.9%) patients were successfully managed with biliary stenting. All stents were plastic. Selection of stent size and length were based upon endoscopist preference. Stent size ranged from 7 to 11.5 Fr (average stent size 10 Fr); Stent length ranged from 6 to 15 cm (average length 9 cm). Concurrent biliary sphincterotomy was performed in 10/19 patients. Single ERCP session was sufficient in 6/15 (40.0%) patients, whereas 4/15 (26.7%) patients needed two ERCP sessions and 5/15 (33.3%) patients required more than two (average of 5.4 ERCP procedures). Single biliary stent was sufficient in 5 patients; the remaining patients required an average of 4.9 stents. Four out of 19 (21.1%) patients failed endotherapy (lack of resolution of RBD and recurrent cholestasis in the absence of biliary stent) and required either choledocojejunostomy (2/4) or percutaneous biliary drainage (2/4). Endoscopic complications included: 2/65 (3%) post-ERCP pancreatitis and 2/10 (20%) non-complicated post-sphincterotomy bleeding. No endoscopic related mortality was found. The medical records of the 15 successful endoscopically managed patients were reviewed for a period of one year after removal of all biliary stents. Eleven patients had continued resolution of cholestatic biomarkers (73%). One patient had recurrent hepatitis C, 2 patients suffered septic shock which was not associated with ERCP and 1 patient was transferred care to an outside provider and records were not available for our review.
CONCLUSION: Although surgical biliary reconstruction techniques have improved, RBD represents a post-OLT complication. This entity is rare however, endoscopic management of RBD represents a reasonable initial approach.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i16.2501
PMCID: PMC3646140  PMID: 23674851
Redundant bile duct; Orthotopic liver transplantation; Biliary complications; Biliary stent; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
8.  Can cholangiography be safely abandoned in laparoscopic cholecystectomy? 
The introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, improvements in ultrasound technology and the success of endoscopic sphincterotomy have raised new questions regarding the role of intraoperative cholangiography. Our aim was to analyse the ability of preoperative clinical and ultrasound assessments to detect common duct stones in 86 patients with symptomatic cholecystolithiasis who then underwent cholangiography after percutaneous cholecystolithotomy. Six patients gave a history suggestive of common duct stones (either jaundice, cholangitis or pancreatitis). Ultrasound showed a dilated common duct in four patients (normal < 6 mm), and one of these had a stone demonstrated in the duct. The latter patient and one other with a dilated common duct had stones on cholangiography (which were extracted at ERCP), no stones were demonstrated in the other two. Ultrasound correctly identified common duct stones in two and excluded common duct stones in four others with a history suggesting the presence of stones. For patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy we would advocate the use of preoperative ultrasound instead of intraoperative cholangiography, and that endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is performed in the small number of patients shown to have a dilated duct or common duct stone.
Images
PMCID: PMC2497618  PMID: 1416674
9.  Choledocholithiasis: Evolving standards for diagnosis and management 
Cholelithiasis, one of the most common medical conditions leading to surgical intervention, affects approximately 10 % of the adult population in the United States. Choledocholithiasis develops in about 10%-20% of patients with gallbladder stones and the literature suggests that at least 3%-10% of patients undergoing cholecystectomy will have common bile duct (CBD) stones.
CBD stones may be discovered preoperatively, intraoperatively or postoperatively Multiple modalities are available for assessing patients for choledocholithiasis including laboratory tests, ultrasound, computed tomography scans (CT), and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). Intraoperative cholangiography during cholecystectomy can be used routinely or selectively to diagnose CBD stones.
The most common intervention for CBD stones is ERCP. Other commonly used interventions include intraoperative bile duct exploration, either laparoscopic or open. Percutaneous, transhepatic stone removal other novel techniques of biliary clearance have been devised. The availability of equipment and skilled practitioners who are facile with these techniques varies among institutions. The timing of the intervention is often dictated by the clinical situation.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v12.i20.3162
PMCID: PMC4087957  PMID: 16718834
Choledocholithiasis; Laparoscopy; Diagnosis; Treatment; Cholangiogram
10.  Lithotripsy in the Laparoscopic Era 
Objectives:
The overall prevalence of gallstones in the United States is between 10% and 15%. Eighty-five percent of common bile duct (CBD) stones can be removed by endoscopic sphincterotomy with basket or balloon extraction, or both. The introduction of mechanical lithotripsy improved the results up to 90%. We present one case of retained CBD stone after 2 failed endoscopic sphincterotomies and balloon/basket extraction treated by electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL).
Methods:
A fifty-year-old man underwent ERCP for suppurative cholangitis. Because of the failure of stone extraction, he was taken to the operating room for an open cholecystectomy and CBD exploration. The intraoperative cholangiogram showed contrast flowing into the duodenum. Seven weeks later, the patient presented with mild pancreatitis, and a T-tube cholangiogram revealed a stone impacted in the distal CBD. Percutaneous balloon extraction was again unsuccessful.
Results:
The patient underwent a single 2.5-hour session of EHL via the T-tube tract. Mild pulmonary edema occurred intraoperatively. Complete clearance of the CBD was obtained without the need for additional ERCP.
Conclusions:
EHL is a valid and effective option for difficult retained common bile duct stones after failed ERCP.
PMCID: PMC3015617  PMID: 16121889
Lithotripsy; Retained common bile duct stones; Failed endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
11.  Mirizzi Syndrome with Endoscopic Ultrasound Image 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2013;7(2):202-207.
We describe a 66-year-old Caucasian man with type 1 Mirizzi syndrome diagnosed on endoscopic ultrasound. He presented with acute onset of jaundice, malaise, dark urine over 3–4 days, and was found to have obstructive jaundice on lab testing. CT scan of the abdomen showed intrahepatic biliary ductal dilation, a 1.5 cm common bile duct (CBD) above the pancreas, and possible stones in the CBD, but no masses. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) by a community gastroenterologist failed to cannulate the CBD. At the University Center, type 1 Mirizzi syndrome was noted on endoscopic ultrasound with narrowing of the CBD with extrinsic compression from cystic duct stone. During repeat ERCP, the CBD could be cannulated over the pancreatic duct wire. A mid CBD narrowing, distal CBD stones, proximal CBD and extrahepatic duct dilation were noted, and biliary sphincterotomy was performed. A small stone in the distal CBD was removed with an extraction balloon. The cystic duct stone was moved with the biliary balloon into the CBD, mechanical basket lithotripsy was performed and stone fragments were delivered out with an extraction balloon. The patient was seen 7 weeks later in the clinic. Skin and scleral icterus had cleared up and he is scheduled for an elective cholecystectomy. Mirizzi syndrome refers to biliary obstruction resulting from impacted stone in the cystic duct or neck of the gallbladder and commonly presents with obstructive jaundice. Type 1 does not have cholecystocholedochal fistulas, but they present in types 2, 3 and 4. Surgery is the mainstay of therapy. Endoscopic treatment is effective and can also be used as a temporizing measure or definitive treatment in poor surgical risk candidates.
doi:10.1159/000351170
PMCID: PMC3670630  PMID: 23741207
Mirizzi syndrome; Gallstone; Endoscopic ultrasound; Obstructive jaundice
12.  Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with rendezvous cannulation reduces pancreatic injury 
AIM: To examine whether rendezvous endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is associated with less pancreatic damage, measured as leakage of proenzymes, than conventional ERCP.
METHODS: Patients (n = 122) with symptomatic gallstone disease, intact papilla and no ongoing inflammation, were prospectively enrolled in this case-control designed study. Eighty-one patients were subjected to laparoscopic cholecystectomy and if intraoperative cholangiography suggested common bile duct stones (CBDS), rendezvous ERCP was performed intraoperatively (n = 40). Patients with a negative cholangiogram constituted the control group (n = 41). Another 41 patients with CBDS, not subjected to surgery, underwent conventional ERCP. Pancreatic proenzymes, procarboxypeptidase B and trypsinogen-2 levels in plasma, were analysed at 0, 4, 8 and 24 h. The proenzymes were determined in-house with a double-antibody enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Pancreatic amylase was measured by an enzymatic colourimetric modular analyser with the manufacturer’s reagents. All samples were blinded at analysis.
RESULTS: Post ERCP pancreatitis (PEP) occurred in 3/41 (7%) of the patients cannulated with conventional ERCP and none in the rendezvous group. Increased serum levels indicating pancreatic leakage were significantly higher in the conventional ERCP group compared with the rendezvous ERCP group regarding pancreatic amylase levels in the 4- and 8-h samples (P = 0.0015; P = 0.03), procarboxypeptidase B in the 4- and 8-h samples (P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001) and trypsinogen-2 in the 24-hour samples (P = 0.03). No differences in these markers were observed in patients treated with rendezvous cannulation technique compared with patients that underwent cholecystectomy alone (control group). Post procedural concentrations of pancreatic amylase and procarboxypeptidase B were significantly correlated with pancreatic duct cannulation and opacification.
CONCLUSION: Rendezvous ERCP reduces pancreatic enzyme leakage compared with conventional ERCP cannulation technique. Thus, laparo-endoscopic technique can be recommended with the ambition to minimise the risk for post ERCP pancreatitis.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i36.6026
PMCID: PMC3785624  PMID: 24106403
Common bile duct stones; Procarboxypeptidase B; Trypsinogen-2; Pancreatic amylase; Intraoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
13.  Cost-Effective Treatment of Patients with Symptomatic Cholelithiasis and Possible Common Bile Duct Stones 
Journal of the American College of Surgeons  2011;212(6):1049-1060.e1-7.
Background
Clinicians must choose a treatment strategy for patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis without knowing whether common bile duct (CBD) stones are present. The purpose of this study was to determine the most cost-effective treatment strategy for patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis and possible CBD stones.
Study Design
Our decision model included five treatment strategies: (1) laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) alone followed by expectant management, (2) preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) followed by LC, (3) LC with intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) ± common bile duct exploration (CBDE), (4) LC followed by postoperative ERCP, and (5) LC with IOC ± postoperative ERCP. The rates of successful completion of diagnostic testing and therapeutic intervention, test characteristics (sensitivity and specificity), morbidity, and mortality for all procedures are from current literature. Hospitalization costs and lengths of stay are from the 2006 National CMS data. The probability of CBD stones was varied from 0% to 100% and the most cost-effective strategy was determined at each probability.
Results
Across the CBD stone probability range of 4% to 100%, LC with IOC ± ERCP was the most cost-effective. If the probability was 0%, LC alone was the most cost-effective. Our model was sensitive to one health input: specificity of IOC, and three costs: cost of hospitalization for LC with CBDE, cost of hospitalization for LC without CBDE, and cost of LC with IOC.
Conclusions
The most cost-effective treatment strategy for the majority of patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis is LC with routine IOC. If stones are detected, CBDE should be forgone and the patient referred for ERCP.
doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2011.02.017
PMCID: PMC3163150  PMID: 21444220
14.  Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography during pregnancy without radiation 
AIM: To present our experience with pregnant patients who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) without using radiation, and to evaluate the acceptability of this alternative therapeutic pathway for ERCP during pregnancy.
METHODS: Between 2000 and 2008, six pregnant women underwent seven ERCP procedures. ERCP was performed under mild sedoanalgesia induced with pethidine HCl and midazolam. The bile duct was cannulated with a guidewire through the papilla. A catheter was slid over the guidewire and bile aspiration and/or visualization of the bile oozing around the guidewire was used to confirm correct cannulation. Following sphincterotomy, the bile duct was cleared by balloon sweeping. When indicated, stents were placed. Confirmation of successful biliary cannulation and stone extraction was made by laboratory, radiological and clinical improvement. Neither fluoroscopy nor spot radiography was used during the procedure.
RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 28 years (range, 21-33 years). The mean gestational age for the fetus was 23 wk (range, 14-34 wk). Five patients underwent ERCP because of choledocholithiasis and/or choledocholithiasis-induced acute cholangitis. In one case, a stone was extracted after precut papillotomy with a needle-knife, since the stone was impacted. One patient had ERCP because of persistent biliary fistula after hepatic hydatid disease surgery. Following sphincterotomy, scoleces were removed from the common bile duct. Two weeks later, because of the absence of fistula closure, repeat ERCP was performed and a stent was placed. The fistula was closed after stent placement. Neither post-ERCP complications nor premature birth or abortion was seen.
CONCLUSION: Non-radiation ERCP in experienced hands can be performed during pregnancy. Stent placement should be considered in cases for which complete common bile duct clearance is dubious because of a lack of visualization of the biliary tree.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.3649
PMCID: PMC2721239  PMID: 19653343
Cholangitis; Choledocholithiasis; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Jaundice; Pregnancy
15.  Perioperative Management in Children with Sickle Cell Disease Undergoing Laparoscopic Surgery 
Objective:
The aim of this study was to evaluate our experience with laparoscopic surgery in children with sickle cell disease.
Methods:
A retrospective chart review was performed to analyze the indication for surgery, perioperative management, surgical technique, complications, duration of hospitalization, and outcome. One pediatric surgeon performed all procedures.
Results:
Thirteen children underwent laparoscopic surgery for the following indications: symptomatic cholelithiasis/cholecystitis in 9; recurrent splenic sequestration in 3; and hypersplenism/symptomatic cholelithiasis in 1. The 7 boys and 6 girls had a median age of 7.8 years. Patients undergoing splenectomy only were younger than those undergoing cholecystectomy (median age, 3.6 years versus 11.5 years, respectively). Four children underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and sphincterotomy because of common bile duct dilatation and stones. Twelve patients received packed red blood cell transfusions prior to surgery. The median operative time was 150 minutes, and the median hospitalization was 3 days. Four patients suffered postoperative complications (2 with acute chest syndrome, 1 with recurrent abdominal pain, and 1 with priapism). The patient with abdominal pain was found to have a retained stone in the common bile duct, which was retrieved via endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and sphincterotomy. All complications resolved with medical management.
Conclusions:
Laparoscopic surgery is safe in children with sickle cell disease. Meticulous attention to perioperative management, transfusion guidelines, and pulmonary care may decrease the incidence of acute chest syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3043404  PMID: 12002293
Sickle cell anemia; Laparoscopic surgery; Child; Adolescence
16.  Which Is the Better Treatment for the Removal of Large Biliary Stones? Endoscopic Papillary Large Balloon Dilation versus Endoscopic Sphincterotomy 
Gut and Liver  2014;8(4):438-444.
Background/Aims
We evaluated the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of endoscopic papillary large balloon dilation (EPLBD) for large common bile duct (CBD) stone removal compared with endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST).
Methods
A total of 1,580 patients who underwent endoscopic CBD stone extraction between January 2001 and July 2010 were reviewed. The following inclusion criteria were applied: choledocholithiasis treated by EPLBD with minor EST or EST with mechanical lithotripsy; and follow-up >9 months after treatment.
Results
Forty-nine patients with EPLBD and 41 with EST were compared. There was no significant difference in the complication rates and stone recurrence rates between the two groups. However, significantly more endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) sessions were required in the EST group to achieve the complete removal of stones (1.7 times vs 1.3 times; p=0.03). The mean cost required for complete stone removal per patient was significantly higher in the EST group compared to the EPLBD group (USD $1,644 vs $1,225, respectively; p=0.04). Dilated CBD was the only significant factor associated with recurrent biliary stones (relative risk, 1.09; 95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.17; p=0.02).
Conclusions
EPLBD is the better treatment (compared to EST) for removing large CBD stones because EPLBD requires fewer ERCP sessions and is less expensive.
doi:10.5009/gnl.2014.8.4.438
PMCID: PMC4113053  PMID: 25071911
Choledocholithiasis; Endoscopic papillary large balloon dilation; Sphincterotomy; endoscopic; Mechanical lithotripsy
17.  Use of magnetic resonance cholangiography in the diagnosis of choledocholithiasis: prospective comparison with a reference imaging method 
Gut  1999;44(1):118-122.
Background—Magnetic resonance cholangiography (MRC) is a new technique for non-invasive imaging of the biliary tract. 
Aim—To assess the results of MRC in patients with suspected bile duct stones as compared with those obtained with reference imaging methods. 
Patients/Methods—70 patients (34 men and 36 women, mean (SD) age 71 (15.5) years; median 75) with suspected bile duct stones were included (cholangitis, 33; pancreatitis, three; suspected post-cholecystectomy choledocholithiasis, nine; cholestasis, six; stones suspected on ultrasound or computed tomography scan, 19). MR cholangiograms with two dimensional turbo spin echo sequences were acquired. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiography with or without sphincterotomy (n = 63), endosonography (n = 5), or intraoperative cho- langiography (n = 2) were the reference imaging techniques used for the study and were performed within 12 hours of MRC. Radiologists were blinded to the results of endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and previous investigations. 
Results—49 patients (70%) had bile duct stones on reference imaging (common bile duct, 44, six of which impacted in the papilla; intrahepatic, four; cystic duct stump, one). Stone size ranged from 1 to 20 mm (mean 6.1, median 5.5). Twenty seven patients (55%) had bile duct stones smaller than 6 mm. MRC diagnostic accuracy for bile duct lithiasis was: sensitivity, 57.1%; specificity, 100%; positive predictive value, 100%; negative predictive value, 50%. 
Conclusions—Stones smaller than 6 mm are still often missed by MRC when standard equipment is used. The general introduction of new technical improvements is needed before this method can be considered reliable for the diagnosis of bile duct stones. 


Keywords: bile duct calculi; endoscopic retrograde cholangiography; magnetic resonance cholangiography
PMCID: PMC1760072  PMID: 9862837
18.  Endoscopic Papillary Balloon Dilation with Large Balloon after Limited Sphincterotomy for Retrieval of Choledocholithiasis 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2006;47(6):805-810.
Endoscopic papillary balloon dilation (EBD) for choledocholithiasis is known to be comparable to endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST) especially in cases of small stones. With larger stones, EBD with conventional balloon, which have a diameter of 6-8 mm, was reported as less effective for extraction of stones. We evaluated the efficacy and complications of EBD with large balloons (10-15 mm) after limited EST for retrieval of choledocholithiasis. From February 2005, we have performed EBD with limited EST for retrieval of common bile duct (CBD) stones. The patients who admitted with hyperamylasemia and gallstone pancreatitis were excluded. In cases without CBD dilation, EPBD with 12 mm for 40 seconds was performed. And in cases with CBD dilation, we dilated the sphincters with 15 mm sized balloon for 40 seconds. Total 22 patients (11 of male) were performed EBD with limited EST for retrieval of CBD stones. The median diameter of the stones was 10 mm (5-25 mm). Ten cases had multiple stones and 6 cases periampullary diverticuli. Successful stone removal in the initial session of ERCP with EBD was accomplished in 16 patients (72.7%). And complete retrieval of bile duct stones was achieved in all patients with repeated ERCP. In the aspect of complications, any episodes of perforation, bleeding was not developed. Only one case of mild grade of post-procedural pancreatitis was noted. However, post-procedural hyperamylasemia was developed in 16 cases (68.2%). EBD with larger balloon seems to be a feasible and safe alternative technique for conventional EST in CBD stone extraction.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2006.47.6.805
PMCID: PMC2687820  PMID: 17191309
Choledocholithiasis; endoscopic retrograde pancreaticocholangiography; endoscopic papillary balloon dilation; endoscopic sphincterotomy
19.  Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography for choledocholithiasis after laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery 
INTRODUCTION
Gallstones are a common condition in bariatric patients after a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB). The management of ductal stones is challenging due to the altered gastrointestinal anatomy. Various techniques have been reported to manage bile duct stones.
PRESENTATION OF CASE
We present the successful percutaneous trans hepatic management of common bile duct stones after LRYGB.
One year after a LRYGB for morbid obesity, a 59-year-old female presented with acute cholecystitis. One month after laparoscopic cholecystectomy a 1 cm calculus was found within the distal CBD and patient underwent a percutaneous trans hepatic cholangiography under local anesthetic. This involved a right sided anterior segmental duct puncture. With the sphincter dilated to 10 mm, a balloon catheter was used to push the stone into the duodenum leaving an internal- external drain. Patient recovered completely at follow up.
DISCUSSION
Patients with morbid obesity have a higher incidence of gallstones. After LRYGB, the altered anatomy does not allow the conventional endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for choledocholithiasis.
Various techniques have been reported as means of managing bile duct stones in LRYGB patients. These include a double balloon enteroscope-assisted ERCP, laparoscopic transgastric ERCP, laparoscopic or open biliary surgery and interventional radiology. We report a non-surgical approach using percutaneous transhepatic technique under local anesthetic that resulted effective and could be applied more extensively.
CONCLUSION
Due to the increase of global obesity, bariatric centers need to strategically plan resources such as interventional radiology in order to manage post LRYGB choledocholithiasis safely, efficiently and in a cost effective manner.
doi:10.1016/j.ijscr.2014.03.003
PMCID: PMC4008860  PMID: 24705194
Gastric bypass; PTC; Choledocholithiasis; Bariatric; Laparoscopy
20.  Endoscopic papillary balloon dilation for difficult common bile duct stones: Our experience 
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of endoscopic balloon dilation (EBD) performed for common bile duct (CBD) stones.
METHODS: From a computer database, we retrospectively analyzed the data relating to EBD performed in patients at the gastrointestinal unit of the Sandro Pertini Hospital of Rome (small center with low case volume) who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for CBD from January 1, 2010 to February 29, 2012. All patients had a proven diagnosis of CBD stones studied with echography, RMN-cholangiography and, when necessary, with computed tomography of the abdomen (for example, in cases with pace-makers). Prophylactic therapies, with gabexate mesilate 24 h before the procedure and with an antibiotic (ceftriaxone 2 g) 1 h before, were administered in all patients. The duodenum was intubated with a side-viewing endoscope under deep sedation with intravenous midazolam and propofol. The patients were placed in the supine position in almost all cases. EBD of the ampulla was performed under endoscopic and fluoroscopic guidance with a balloon through the scope (Hercules, wireguided balloon®, Cook Ireland Ltd. and CRE®, Microvasive, Boston Scientific Co., Natick, MA, United States).
RESULTS: A total of 14 patients (9 female, 5 male; mean age of 73 years; range 57-82 years) were enrolled in the study, in whom a total of 15 EBDs were performed. All patients underwent minor endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) prior to the EBD. The size of balloon insufflation depended on stone size and CBD dilation and this was performed until it reached 16 mm in diameter. EBD was performed under endoscopic and fluoroscopic guidance. The balloon was gradually filled with diluted contrast agent and was maintained inflated in position for 45 to 60 s before deflation and removal. The need for precutting the major papilla was 21.4%. In one patient (an 81-year-old), EBD was performed in a Billroth II. Periampullary diverticula were found only in a 74-year-old female. The adverse event related to the procedures (ERCP + ES) was only an intra procedural bleeding (6.6%) that occurred after ES and was treated immediately with adrenaline sclerotherapy. No postoperative complications were reported.
CONCLUSION: With the current endoscopic techniques, very few patients with choledocholithiasis require surgery. EBD is an efficacious and safe procedure.
doi:10.12998/wjcc.v1.i1.19
PMCID: PMC3845931  PMID: 24303455
Choledocholithiasis; Endoscopic balloon dilation; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Endoscopic sphincterotomy; Mechanical lithotripsy
21.  Anomalous opening of the common bile duct into the duodenal bulb: endoscopic treatment 
BMC Gastroenterology  2007;7:26.
Background
Anomalous biliary opening especially the presence of the ampulla of Vater in the duodenal bulb is a very rare phenomenon. We report clinical implications, laboratory and ERCP findings and also therapeutic approaches in 53 cases.
Methods
The data were collected from the records of 12.158 ERCP. The diagnosis was established as an anomalous opening of the common bile duct (CBD) into the duodenal bulb when there is an orifice observed in the bulb with the absence of a papillary structure at its normal localization and when the CBD is visualized by cholangiography through this orifice without evidence of any other opening.
Results
A total of 53 cases were recruited. There was an obvious male preponderance (M/F: 49/4). Demographic data and ERCP findings were available for all, but clinical characteristics and laboratory findings could be obtained from 39 patients with full records. Thirty – seven of 39 cases had abdominal pain (95%) and 23 of them (59%) had cholangitis as well. Elevated AP and GGT were found in 97.4% (52/53). History of cholecystectomy was present in 64% of the cases, recurrent cholangitis in 26% and duodenal ulcer in 45%. Normal papilla was not observed in any of the patients and a cleft-like opening was evident instead. The CBD was hook shaped at the distal part that opens to the duodenal bulb. Pancreatic duct (PD) was opening separately into the bulb in all the cases when it was possible to visualize. Dilated CBD in ERCP was evident in 94% and the CBD stone was demonstrated in 51%. PD was dilated in four of 12 (33%) cases. None of them has a history of pancreatitis. Endoscopically, Papillary Balloon Dilatation instead of Sphincterotomy carried out in 19 of 27 patients (70%) with choledocholithiazis. Remaining eight patients had undergone surgery (30%). Clinical symptoms were resolved with medical treatment in 16(32%) patients with dilated CBD but no stone. Perforation and bleeding were occurred only in two patients, which stones extracted with sphincterotomy (each complication in 1 patient).
Conclusion
The opening of the CBD into the duodenal bulb is a rare event that may be associated with biliary and gastric/duodenal diseases. To date, surgical treatment has been preferred. In our experience, sphincterotomy has a high risk since it may lead to bleeding and perforation by virtue of the fact that a true papillary structure is absent. However, we performed balloon dilatation of the orifice successfully without any serious complication and suggest this as a safe therapeutic modality.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-7-26
PMCID: PMC1933541  PMID: 17610747
22.  Investigation of Bile Ducts before Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy 
Background:
Since the advent of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, there has been controversy about the investigation of the bile ducts and the management of common bile duct stones. Routine peroperative cholangiography (POC) in all cases has been recommended. We have adopted a policy of not performing routine POC, and the results of 700 cases are reported.
Methods:
Since 1990, all patients have undergone pre-operative ultrasound scan. We have performed selective preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) because of a clinical history of jaundice and/or pancreatitis, abnormal liver function tests and ultra-sound evidence of dilated bile ducts (N=78, 11.1%). The remaining 622 patients did not have a routine POC, but selective peroperative cholangiogram (POC) was per-formed only in 42 patients (6%) because of unsuccessful ERCP or mild alteration in the criteria for the presence of bile duct stones. The remaining 580 patients did not undergo POC. Careful dissection of Calot's triangle was performed in all cases to reduce the risk of bile duct injuries.
Results:
The overall operative complications, postoperative morbidity and mortality was 1.71%, 2.14% and 0.43%, respectively. Bile duct injuries occurred in two patients (0.26%) and both were recognized during the operation and repaired. There was a single incidence of retained stone in this series of 700 cases (0.14%), which required postoperative ERCP.
Conclusions:
This policy of selective preoperative ERCP, and not routine peroperative cholangiogram, is cost effective and not associated with significant incidence of retained stones or bile duct injuries after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
PMCID: PMC3015339  PMID: 10323165
Cholecystectomy; Laparoscopic; Cholangiography; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiography; Common bile duct calculi
23.  Oblique Bile Duct Predisposes to the Recurrence of Bile Duct Stones 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54601.
Background and Study Aims
Bile stones represent a highly prevalent condition and abnormalities of the biliary tree predispose to stone recurrence due to development of biliary stasis. In our study, we assessed the importance of an altered bile duct course for stone formation.
Patients and Methods
1,307 patients with choledocholithiasis in the absence of any associated hepatobiliary disease who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) between 2002 and 2009 were analysed. The angle enclosed between the horizontal portion of the common bile duct (CBD) and the horizontal plane was measured (angle α). Oblique common bile duct (OCBD) was defined as a CBD with angle α<45°.
Results
103 patients (7.9%) were found to harbour OCBD and these were compared to 104 randomly selected control subjects. Compared to controls, OCBD patients were (i) significantly older (72±13 vs. 67±13, p<0.00001); (ii) more frequently underwent a cholecystectomy (p = 0.02) and biliary surgery (p = 0.003) prior to the diagnosis and (iii) more often developed chronic pancreatitis (p = 0.04) as well as biliary fistulae (p = 0.03). Prior to and after ERCP, OCBD subjects displayed significantly elevated cholestatic parameters and angle α negatively correlated with common bile duct diameter (r = -0.29, p = 0.003). OCBD subjects more often required multiple back-to-back ERCP sessions to remove bile stones (p = 0.005) as well as more ERCPs later on due to recurrent stone formation (p<0.05).
Conclusion
OCBD defines a novel variant of the biliary tree, which is associated with chronic cholestasis, hampers an efficient stone removal and predisposes to recurrence of bile duct stones.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054601
PMCID: PMC3554756  PMID: 23365676
24.  Consecutive versus separate sessions of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for symptomatic choledocholithiasis 
Surgical Endoscopy  2013;27(6):2117-2121.
Background
Common bile duct (CBD) stones are a potentially life-threatening medical condition. Patients with proven CBD stones should undergo stone extraction. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether performing endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for symptomatic CBD stones in a single session reduces complications related to postponing treatment due to separate EUS and ERCP sessions, and to assess the safety in both options.
Methods
A total of 151 patients with EUS-proven CBD stones, with subsequent ERCP, treated in our department between January 2005 and December 2011 were included. Complications related to the procedures or sedation and complications due to the CBD stones when EUS and ERCP were not performed in a single session were assessed and compared to complications when the two procedures were performed in one session.
Results
In total, 149 patients of the 151 (98.7 %) had a successful ERCP. Four (5 %) patients in the separate-session group (B) had a major complication compared to none in the single-session group (A) (p > 0.05). Group B received 14 % more midazolam during ERCP than group A (p < 0.05). No sedation-related complications were noted in either group. Eleven of the 80 patients in group B (13.8 %) experienced complications while waiting for ERCP compared to none in group A (p = 0.001, OR = 2.17, CI = 1.06–4.
Conclusions
EUS and ERCP done in a single session proved to be safe, with no increase in sedation- or procedure-related complications. Postponing treatment for symptomatic CBD stones exposes the patient to biliary complications, especially cholangitis.
doi:10.1007/s00464-012-2720-7
PMCID: PMC3661077  PMID: 23389062
EUS; ERCP; CBD; Choledocholithiasis
25.  Diagnosis and management of choledocholithiasis in the golden age of imaging, endoscopy and laparoscopy 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(37):13382-13401.
Biliary lithiasis is an endemic condition in both Western and Eastern countries, in some studies affecting 20% of the general population. In up to 20% of cases, gallbladder stones are associated with common bile duct stones (CBDS), which are asymptomatic in up to one half of cases. Despite the wide variety of examinations and techniques available nowadays, two main open issues remain without a clear answer: how to cost-effectively diagnose CBDS and, when they are finally found, how to deal with them. CBDS diagnosis and management has radically changed over the last 30 years, following the dramatic diffusion of imaging, including endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and magnetic resonance cholangiography (MRC), endoscopy and laparoscopy. Since accuracy, invasiveness, potential therapeutic use and cost-effectiveness of imaging techniques used to identify CBDS increase together in a parallel way, the concept of “risk of carrying CBDS” has become pivotal to identifying the most appropriate management of a specific patient in order to avoid the risk of “under-studying” by poor diagnostic work up or “over-studying” by excessively invasive examinations. The risk of carrying CBDS is deduced by symptoms, liver/pancreas serology and ultrasound. “Low risk” patients do not require further examination before laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Two main “philosophical approaches” face each other for patients with an “intermediate to high risk” of carrying CBDS: on one hand, the “laparoscopy-first” approach, which mainly relies on intraoperative cholangiography for diagnosis and laparoscopic common bile duct exploration for treatment, and, on the other hand, the “endoscopy-first” attitude, variously referring to MRC, EUS and/or endoscopic retrograde cholangiography for diagnosis and endoscopic sphincterotomy for management. Concerning CBDS diagnosis, intraoperative cholangiography, EUS and MRC are reported to have similar results. Regarding management, the recent literature seems to show better short and long term outcome of surgery in terms of retained stones and need for further procedures. Nevertheless, open surgery is invasive, whereas the laparoscopic common bile duct clearance is time consuming, technically demanding and involves dedicated instruments. Thus, although no consensus has been achieved and CBDS management seems more conditioned by the availability of instrumentation, personnel and skills than cost-effectiveness, endoscopic treatment is largely preferred worldwide.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i37.13382
PMCID: PMC4188892  PMID: 25309071
Biliary lithiasis; Choledocholithiasis; Laparoscopy; Endoscopy; Diagnosis; Management

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