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Endoscopic Transpapillary Gallbladder Stent Placement Is Safe and Effective in High-Risk Patients Without Cirrhosis

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Endoscopic transpapillary gallbladder stent (ETGS) placement is a proposed minimally invasive alternative to cholecystectomy in high-risk patients with symptomatic gallbladder disease.


To describe the safety and efficacy of ETGS placement in 29 consecutive patients without cirrhosis.


A retrospective analysis of consecutive ETGS cases from 2005 to 2013 at a referral center was undertaken.


The mean age was 70 years (range 40–91), and 62 % were hospitalized. The most common indication for ETGS was acute calculus cholecystitis (52 %). Comorbidities precluding cholecystectomy included advanced cancer (45 %), severe cardiopulmonary disease (21 %), and advanced age/frailty (17 %). Eighty-six percent of the patients had an ASA class of III or IV, and the Charlson comorbidity index was >3 in 55 %. An ETGS was successfully placed in 22 patients (76 %) with 18 being successful on the first attempt. A percutaneous rendezvous approach was required to obtain cystic duct access in six patients (21 %). During a mean follow-up of 376 days, a sustained clinical response was noted in 90 % of the patients with a stent placed. No peri-procedural complications were noted. However, two patients developed delayed complications of abdominal pain and cholangitis. Six patients were alive with their original stent still in place at a mean follow-up of 2.5 years.


ETGS is an effective and safe alternative to cholecystectomy in high-risk patients. Technical success can be facilitated by a percutaneous rendezvous technique. Our data and those of others suggest that scheduled stent exchanges may not be required unless a clinical change occurs.

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Conflict of interest

Robert Fontana has received grant support from Vertex, Gilead, and BMS, none relevant to this study, James M. Scheiman has served as a consultant to Pozen, Sanofi, Stryker, GSK, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca within the past 5 years, none relevant to this study. For the remaining authors, none were declared.

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Correspondence to Sean T. McCarthy.

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McCarthy, S.T., Tujios, S., Fontana, R.J. et al. Endoscopic Transpapillary Gallbladder Stent Placement Is Safe and Effective in High-Risk Patients Without Cirrhosis. Dig Dis Sci 60, 2516–2522 (2015).

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