Abdominal Pain and Biliary Tract Dysmotility

  • Walter J. Hogan
  • Wylie J. Dodds
  • Joseph E. Geenen
Part of the Topics in Gastroenterology book series (TGEN)


Motor dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract without discernible structural alteration is suspected frequently in patients with episodic or chronic abdominal pain. The biliary tract [gallbladder/sphincter of Oddi (SO)] assumes a “leadership” role in this clinical arena when the patient with “biliary-type” pain fails conventional diagnostic testing. A convincing relationship between dysmotility and pain is often difficult or impossible to establish. A motility disorder may simply be an epiphenomenon without meaningful clinical correlation or relevance to the patient’s symptoms. On the other hand, a valid relationship may exist between smooth muscle dysfunction in the biliary tract and the patient’s “biliary-like” pain complaints. Theoretically, functional disorders of bile flow may arise from a disturbance in motor function anywhere within the biliary tract. Similar speculation has persisted since the late 19th century, in fact.1 To help deal with this dilemma and to focus on the more meaningful clinical issues, a brief review of biliary flow dynamics, the mechanisms of biliary-type pain, and the spectrum of functional biliary tract disorders is useful.


Common Bile Duct Biliary Tract Bile Flow Endoscopic Sphincterotomy Common Duct 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter J. Hogan
    • 1
  • Wylie J. Dodds
    • 2
  • Joseph E. Geenen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineSt. Luke’s HospitalRacineUSA

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