Introduction. Gallstone ileus is an uncommon condition of mechanical bowel obstruction caused by the passage of a gallstone into the bowel. It occurs more frequently in female patients older than 65 years and often for a biliary-enteric fistula. The pathognomonic features of gallstone ileus – the Rigler’s triad – are pneumobilia, ectopic gallstone and bowel obstruction. Less commonly, a gallstone may enter the intestinal lumen through the common bile duct, after endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and very rarely in colecistectomized patient.
Case report. A 92-year old colecistectomized male patient was admitted to our unit for the clinical suspicion of bowel obstruction. He was also submitted to ERCP seven months before. Physical examination revealed tenderness in the lower abdomen and CT showed intrahepatic and extrahepatic biliary dilatation and small bowel obstruction with a hyperdense formation in right iliac fossa as gallstone ileus. It was performed an emergency laparotomy with enterotomy and a 5x3 cm gallstone removal. There were no post-operative complications and the patient was discharged 8 days after surgery.
Discussion. Cholecysto-duodenal fistulas are most frequently described in worldwide-reports. There are only few cases in literature of gallstone which enter the gastrointestinal tract following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and sphincterotomy through papilla of Vater, without a biliary-enteric fistula, causing gallstone ileus. If the patient is cholecistectomized, gallstone removal alone is required.
Conclusion. The differential diagnosis in case of small bowel obstruction should always include gallstone ileus, even if the patient previously underwent a cholecystectomy.