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The Clinical Review on Gallstone Disease by I J Beckingham, BMJ Vol
2001, made excellent reading but continues to perpetuate words and phrases
not convey the meaning that they ought to do. Under clinical presentation
Subheading states “biliary colic”.. The following text states quite
clearly that this is not
colic and “contrary to its name, the pain often does not fluctuate but
further points out rightly that this is visceral in origin and occurs as a
distension if the gallbladder due to obstruction.
I do feel that authors and sub-editors should stop perpetuating the
term biliary colic
and use the simple term of gallbladder pain or biliary pain. May I suggest
that the term
obstructive cholecystopathy might be useful as it clearly suggests that
there is an
obstructive element and if the patient doesn’t improve on observation, the
may lead to stasis, infection and empyema especially in the elderly and in
This term would alert clinicians to the real cause of the problem and the
progression to a serious infection.
May I also add the same applies to renal colic which does not exist.
What should be
used is the term ureteric colic which perfectly describes the symptoms
that the patient
suffers from. There are other misnomers in clinical use but there is no
perpetuating their use in this day and age.