Has the prevalence of cholesterol gallstones increased in Korea? A preliminary single-center experience


  • Conflict of interest: None.

Correspondence to: Hyoung-Chul OH, Division of Gastroenterology, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, 102 Heukseokro, Dongjak-Gu, Seoul 156-755, Korea. Email: ohcgi@cau.ac.kr



We aimed to determine the prevalence of cholesterol gallstones, the compositional changes of gallstones and its predisposing factors in Korea with this single-center study.


Data of 365 patients who underwent cholecystectomy for cholecystolithiasis from July 2008 to September 2011 were reviewed. Based on the compositional analysis of the gallstones, patients were assigned to either cholesterol gallstone group or pigment gallstone group. The characteristics of the patients and the gallstones were summarized and compared.


After eight patients with mixed gallstones were excluded, 357 patients were enrolled in the study, including cholesterol gallstones in 175 (49.0%) and pigment gallstones in 182 (51.0%). The number of patients with cholecystolithiasis increased but the prevalence of cholesterol gallstone decreased with age. Compared with the pigment gallstone group, the cholesterol gallstone group was associated with young age (<50 years), female gender, obesity (body mass index ≥25 kg/m2) and the absence of chronic liver diseases.


The relative prevalence of cholesterol gallstones in Korea has been stationary so far, but may change in the future since cholesterol gallstones are increasingly prevalent in the young generation.