Distal common bile duct stenosis was observed in 16 (9%) of 170 alcoholic patients admitted to a Veterans Administration Medical Center in the last five years. The following clinical and biochemical features were significantly more common (P<0.05) among the 16 patients with common bile duct stenosis than in 154 without: jaundice, cholangitis, hyperbilirubinemia, alkaline phosphatasemia, pancreatic calcification, and malabsorption. Surgical decompression of biliary tree was necessitated in 13 of 16 cases due to obstructive jaundice in seven, cholangitis in four, portal fibrosis in one, and persistent abdominal pain in one. The mean (±Se) time interval between initial serum alkaline phosphatase elevation and surgical intervention was 308±108 days. Liver histology in eight cases was remarkable for portal fibrosis in seven and biliary cirrhosis in one. These data suggest that distal common bile duct stenosis is a progressive lesion which is quite prevalent in patients with advanced pancreatic disease of alcoholic etiology.
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