Research Article

Prevalence of gall stones in Dundee: a necropsy study.

Br Med J 1975; 4 doi: (Published 22 November 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;4:427


Necropsy records from two large general hospitals in Dundee showed short-term fluctuations in the prevalence of gall stones that had not previously been described. There was no evidence of a rise in the standardised prevalence rate between 1902-9 and 1953-73. A spurious increase was apparent from the crude prevalence rates for these periods, which resulted simply from the increased age of the patients in the later period. Since there was no real increase in prevalence no conclusions can be drawn about dietary or other changes. Patients with stones in the common bile duct were likely to die from an associated cause. This related mainly to a high mortality rate in women. In patients with established epilepsy the prevalence of gall stones was greater than expected, which suggests that phenobarbitone does not diminish the likelihood of gall stones.