Gallbladder sludge formation after bone marrow transplant: Sonographic observations

S. A. Teefey, M. S. Hollister, S. P. Lee, A. F. Jacobson, C. S. Higano, J. A. Bianco, C. J. Colacurcio

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31 Scopus citations


We prospectively studied 12 patients before and after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) with serial sonography to evaluate gallbladder sludge formation. Patients were studied on four separate occasions to assess the gallbladder for sludge and stones: prior to BMT and conditioning chemoradiation, and on days 3, 13, and 28 after BMT. During two of the sonographic studies, gallbladder volume measurements were made before and after administration of cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-OP) and the ejection fraction (EF) was calculated. Medical records were reviewed for symptoms of cholecystitis, narcotic use, and dietary intake. Sludge and/or stones developed in eight of 12 patients (67%), and in four patients sludge was observed by day 3 post-BMT. Ejection fraction was normal (>50%) pre-BMT in six of the eight patients who developed sludge, and in four of these six post-BMT. Furthermore, five of the eight patients developed sludge and/or stones in the absence of fasting and/or narcotic use. We conclude that gallbladder sludge develops frequently and early in BMT patients and may resolve or progress to stone formation. We did not demonstrate a relationship between impaired contractility and the development of sludge and/or stones, nor did we find a strong association between sludge formation and conditions presumed to cause gallbladder stasis, such as narcotic use and fasting. These findings suggest that other factors apart from impaired gallbladder contractility may play a role in the formation of sludge in the BMT patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-60
Number of pages4
JournalAbdominal Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • Biliary tract
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Gallbladder
  • complications
  • sludge
  • ultrasound


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