To evaluate the role of intravenous cholangiography (IVC), ultrasound and oral cholecystography in the diagnosis of gallstone pancreatitis, 20 patients with acute pancreatitis were studied during the first three days of an attack. The IVC successfully demonstrated the common bile duct and gallbladder in 17 (85%) of 20 patients. The ultrasound studies showed the gallbladder in all 18 patients in whom the gallbladder was present. The common duct was not seen by ultrasound in any patient and the pancreas was abnormal in all patients. In the three patients with gallbladder stones these were identified on both IVC and ultrasound. Common duct stones in three patients were seen only by IVC (two of these patients had concurrent gallbladder stones and one after cholecystectomy). Oral cholecystography was of limited usefulness, although the 50% visualization rate was higher than the literature suggests.
(JAMA 242:342-343, 1979)