Initial experience of direct-to-test endoscopic ultrasonography for suspected choledocholithiasis

Paul Lochhead, Perminder S. Phull*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and aims: Endoscopic ultrasound has become an invaluable tool in the investigation of patients with suspected pancreatobiliary disease. We set out to determine whether a “direct-to-test” endoscopic ultrasound procedure could be offered to selected patients with suspected choledocholithiasis. Methods and results: We included patients referred to our general gastroenterology service with clinical history, symptomatology and/or laboratory results compatible with choledocholithiais. Almost all patients had already had a transabdominal ultrasound performed at the request of their general practitioner. All patients underwent direct-to-test day-case endoscopic ultrasound under conscious sedation. Procedures were performed by a single practitioner using an oblique-viewing radial echoendoscope. The diagnostic yield and frequencies of discharge, onward referral and follow-up were determined. Overall diagnostic yield of direct-to-test endoscopic ultrasound was 61%. The most common diagnoses were cholelithiasis (18%) and choledocholithiasis (11%); one periampullary cancer was also detected. A definitive outcome (discharge or referral for a therapeutic procedure) occurred in 14 of 28 patients (50%). The remaining 14 patients underwent further out-patient evaluation. Eventual diagnoses in this group included autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis and drug-induced hepatitis. Conclusions: For patients with suspected biliary disease, direct-to-test endoscopic ultrasound has a high diagnostic yield, and may be an appropriate mode of investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

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© 2015, The Author(s) 2015 Reprints and permissions:


  • biliary tract
  • Endosonography
  • gallbladder diseases
  • referral and consultation


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