Changes of gallbladder and gastric dynamics in patients with acute hepatitis A

P. Portincasa, A. Moschetta, A. Di Ciaula, V. O. Palmieri, M. Milella, G. Pastore, G. Palasciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Transient alterations of gallbladder morphology and dynamics have been reported in patients with during acute hepatitis A. The presence of dyspepsia also suggests involvement of gastric motility. During a 60-day follow-up, we investigated gallbladder and gastric motility in relation to dyspepsia in acute viral hepatitis A patients. Design: Twenty patients were assessed at referral (day 0) and at days 7, 21, 42 and 60 and compared with 20 healthy volunteers. Gallbladder morphology and motility and gastric motility were assessed in the fasting and postprandial period by functional ultrasonography using a liquid test meal. Dyspeptic symptoms were scored. Results: At day 0, fasting gallbladder volume was 5.9 ± 1.3 mL, 32.6 ± 4.6 mL, and 21.5 ± 1.9 mL (mean ± SE) in patients with gallbladder sludge (n = 7), without sludge (n = 13) and controls, respectively (P < 0.05 in sludge vs. no sludge and controls; P < 0.05 in no sludge vs. controls, ANOVA). Small fasting gallbladder volume in patients with sludge increased and sludge disappeared within 7 days. At day 0, patients with sludge also had increased thickness of fasting gallbladder wall and increased serum transaminase levels compared with patients without sludge and controls. Gallbladder contraction was similar in patients and controls. However, patients had delayed gastric emptying, which positively correlated with dyspepsia score. Conclusions: Gallbladder morphological changes observed in the acute phase of hepatitis A are transient and are associated with hepatocellular damage. Gastric emptying is delayed during the first week of disease and is associated with dyspeptic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-622
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • Ultrasonography
  • Viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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