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Comparative study of gallbladder volumes in pregnancy and puerperium in a Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria

Nicholas Kogha
Kikelomo T. Adesina
Joyce E. Ikubor
Kolawole T. Braimoh
Adewale E. Oguntoyinbo


Background: While gallbladder disease often mimic other conditions, pregnant women are more at risk probably because of physiological changes  in gallbladder functions in pregnancy. This study aimed to determine gallbladder volume and ejection fraction in third trimester pregnancy and  compare with postpartum values.

Methods: This was a cross sectional study involving 65 pregnant women who were evaluated within 32 and 40 weeks of gestation. They were re- evaluated 40days postpartum. Patients were scanned with a commercially available Siemens Ultrasound scanner using a curvilinear probe with a  transducer frequency of 3.5MHz. The fasting and 30mins postprandial gallbladder volumes were calculated using the prolate ellipsoid method. Gallbladder ejection fraction was determined using the fasting and postprandial gallbladder volumes.

Results: A total of 65 participants were included in the study, the fasting gallbladder volume (FGBV) was higher significantly in third trimester of  pregnancy (50.72±21.55ml) than postpartum (25.11±11.29ml) (p<0.001). Postprandial gallbladder volume ( PGBV) showed more increment in  pregnancy (22.18±13.17ml) than after delivery (12.12±8.25ml) (p<0.001). A slightly higher gallbladder ejection fraction (EF) at 30minutes was found  in pregnancy (56.99±15.74%) compared with after delivery (53.22±15.92%) with a significant p-value (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Gallbladder volumes (fasting and postprandial) are significantly higher in pregnancy than postpartum period, probably due to  gallbladder hypomotility with likely risk of gallstone formation in pregnancy.

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eISSN: 1596-2407