Assessment of available evidence in the management of gallbladder and bile duct stones: a systematic review of international guidelines

Aafke H. van Dijk, Philip R. de Reuver, Marc G. Besselink, Kees J. van Laarhoven, Ewen M. Harrison, Stephen J. Wigmore, Tom J. Hugh, Marja A. Boermeester

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Gallstone disease is a frequent disorder in the Western world with a prevalence of 10-20%. Recommendations for the assessment and management of gallstones vary internationally. The aim of this systematic review was to assess quality of guideline recommendations for treatment of gallstones. PubMed, EMBASE and websites of relevant associations were systematically searched. Guidelines without a critical appraisal of literature were excluded. Quality of guidelines was determined using the AGREE II instrument. Recommendations without consensus or with low level of evidence were considered to define problem areas and clinical research gaps. Fourteen guidelines were included. Overall quality of guidelines was low, with a mean score of 57/100 (standard deviation 19). Five of 14 guidelines were considered suitable for use in clinical practice without modifications. Ten recommendations from all included guidelines were based on low level of evidence and subject to controversy. These included major topics, such as definition of symptomatic gallstones, indications for cholecystectomy and intraoperative cholangiography. Only five guidelines on gallstones are evidence-based and of a high quality, but even in these controversy exists on important topics. High quality evidence is needed in specific areas before an international guideline can be developed and endorsed worldwide
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-309
JournalHPB: The official journal of the International Hepato Pancreato Biliary Association
Issue number4
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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