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Hispanic Race, Obesity Tied to Pediatric Gallbladder Disease

Hemolytic disease is no longer predominant risk factor for pediatric gallbladder disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic ethnicity and obesity are strongly associated with symptomatic pediatric gallbladder disease, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in Pediatrics.

Seema Mehta, M.D., from Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, and colleagues investigated the current clinical characteristics and risk factors for symptomatic pediatric gallbladder disease, and compared their findings with those from a historical series (based on experiences between 1980 and 1996). The retrospective study included 404 children (mean age, 13.10 years) who underwent a cholecystectomy between 2005 and 2008.

The investigators found that symptomatic cholelithiasis, obstructive disease, and biliary dyskinesia were the primary indications for surgery in patients aged 3 years or older (53, 28, and 16 percent, respectively). The median body mass index (BMI) percentile was 89 percent, and 39 percent of patients were deemed obese. Of the children with nonhemolytic gallstone disease, 35 percent were considered obese and 18 percent severely obese, with a BMI percentile of 99 percent or higher. In 23 percent of patients, gallstone disease was associated with hemolytic disease, and in 39 percent of patients it was associated with obesity. Older age and Hispanic ethnicity were identified as significant, independent risk factors for nonhemolytic gallstone disease on regression analyses. Children undergoing cholecystectomy were significantly more likely to be Hispanic and severely obese, compared with data from the historical series.

"Obesity and Hispanic ethnicity are strongly correlated with symptomatic pediatric gallbladder disease," the authors write.

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