Biliary sludge formation during enteral nutrition: Prevalence and natural history

Wayne H. Schwesinger, Carey P. Page, William E. Strodel, Abraham A. Ghiatis, Shailendra Chopra, Glenn W.W. Gross, Kenneth R. Sirinek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background. Total parenteral nutrition is an etiologic factor in the formation of biliary sludge. We studied whether enteral nutrition is also a risk factor for sludge. Methods. Fifty patients with a needle catheter jejunostomy (NCJ) placed during a major abdominal operation underwent preoperative and weekly postoperative ultrasonography until NCJ feedings were discontinued (1 to 6 weeks). Results. All patients were men. The mean age was 63.2 ± 1.6 years. Fourteen asymptomatic patients (28.0%) had biliary sludge within 2 weeks of beginning enteral feedings through a NCJ. Complete ultrasonographic resolution of sludge was observed in 13 of the 14 positive patients within 1 to 2 weeks of resuming an oral diet. One patient was lost to follow-up after 14 week; a positive sonogram had persisted but the patient remained asymptomatic. During the period of observation, no other patient had signs of biliary tract disease. Conclusions. (1) Biliary sludge may form in some patients during enteral feeding with NCJ. (2) Sludge is cleared by the gallbladder once an oral diet is resumed. (3) There appears to be little risk of complications during postoperative enteral feeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)768-772
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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