Die Cholelithiasis verursacht bei einer Prävalenz von ca. 30% und einer Morbidität von ca. 10% in Deutschland jährlich Kosten von über 200 Mill. DM allein im Krankenhausbereich. Trotz großer regionaler Unterschiede sind folgende Faktoren für die Steinentstehung bedeutsam: Störungen der Gallenblasenfunktion, Cholesterinbersättigung der Galle bzw. eine Verminderung der biliären Gallensalzsekretion und eine beschleunigte Nukleation. Epidemiologische Risikofaktoren sind Alter, nichtvegetarische oder parenterale Ernährung, Adipositas, weibliches Geschlecht, eine genetische Disposition, hämolytische oder Stoffwechselerkrankungen. Die Ätiologie ist weitgehend unklar, so daß statt einer kausalen Therapie nur die symptomatische Behandlung der Cholelithiasis verbleibt.

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