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Revista colombiana de Gastroenterología

Print version ISSN 0120-9957


YURGAKY-SARMIENTO, James; OTERO-REGINO, William  and  GOMEZ-ZULETA, Martín. Elevated transaminases: a new tool for the diagnosis of choledocholithiasis. A case control study. Rev Col Gastroenterol [online]. 2020, vol.35, n.3, pp.319-328.  Epub Mar 01, 2021. ISSN 0120-9957.


Choledocolithiasis (CLD) affects 10% of patients with gallstones. Bile duct obstruction is associated with pancreatitis, cholangitis, and rupture of the common bile duct. This condition usually presents with increased alkaline phosphatase, GGTP and bilirubin levels. In the last decade, it has been found that up to 10% of patients with CLD have elevated aminotransferases levels. In Latin America, this alteration has not been studied. The aim of the present work was to determine the prevalence of transaminase elevation and its evolution.


Case-control study. ALT was measured on admission, at 48 h and at 72 h. If ultrasound was normal, MRCP and/or echo-endoscopy and ERCP were performed, as appropriate.


A total of 72 patients with choledocholithiasis (CLD) (cases) and 128 with cholecystitis without choledocholithiasis (controls) were included. Among the cases, 83% had increased ALT levels, which was 2-9 times higher in 56.9%, 10-20 times higher in 16%, and more than 20 times higher in 8.3%. At 48 hours, those levels decreased by 30% and at 72 hours by 56%. In turn, in 27.3% of the controls, ALT was 2-9 times higher in 15.6%, 10-20 times higher in 7.8% and more than 20 times higher in 2.9%. The combination of biliary colic and ALT elevation had a positive predictive value (PPV) for CLD of 72% and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 87.7%.


When biliary colic and ALT elevation are reported, it is imperative to rule out choledocholithiasis. If the ultrasound is normal, MRCP and/or biliopancreatic endoscopy should be performed.

Keywords : Choledocholithiasis; Aminotransferases; Biliary colic.

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