What is the presentation of cholelithiasis (gallstones) in sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Cholelithiasis is common in children with SCD, as chronic hemolysis with hyperbilirubinemia is associated with the formation of bile stones. Cholelithiasis may be asymptomatic or result in acute cholecystitis, requiring surgical intervention. The liver may also become involved. Cholecystitis or common bile duct obstruction can occur.

Consider cholecystitis in a child who presents with right upper quadrant pain, especially if associated with fatty food. Consider common bile duct blockage when a child presents with right upper quadrant pain and dramatically elevated conjugated hyperbilirubinemia.


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