Biliary lithiasis or gallstone disease is characterised by the presence of concretions in the gallbladder, the biliary ducts, or both.15,16
These concretions can be stones (>3 mm) or biliary sludge containing particles of smaller size. Gallstone disease may be asymptomatic or associated with chronic or acute symptoms.15,16
Gallstones are not as common in children as they are in adults, but they do occur from time to time, usually without an evident underlying cause.17 Risk factors for gallstones in children include:17
Gallstones can be classified according to composition: into cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Pigment stones are mainly composed of calcium salts of unconjugated bilirubin and are divided into hard black and soft brown stones. 75% of gallstones in children are pigment stones.18
15. Sauerland S. Epidemiology of biliary lithiasis. Biliary Lithiasis. Milano: Springer; 2008:13-8.
16. Jüngst C, Kullak-Ublick GA, Jüngst D. Gallstone disease: Microlithiasis and sludge. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2006;20:1053-62.
17. Gallstones. Seattle Children’s Hospital, 2020. (Accessed April, 2020, at https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/gallstones/.)
18. Escobar Castro H, García Novo MD, Olivares P. [Biliary lithiasis in childhood: therapeutic approaches]. An Pediatr (Barc) 2004;60:170-4.
19. Lermite E, Pessaux P. Diagnostic flow charts for biliary lithiasis. Biliary Lithiasis. Milano: Springer; 2008:143-8.
20. Leopold GR, Amberg J, Gosink BB, Mittelstaedt C. Gray scale ultrasonic cholecystography: a comparison with conventional radiographic techniques. Radiology 1976;121:445-8.