Jaundice And Common Bile Duct Stones


What is it? The term “jaundice” means yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes.
Why it happens: Jaundice is caused by the build-up of a substance called bilirubin. There are many reasons for this such as gallstones, liver disease, pancreatitis, hepatitis or anaemia.


Yellow colour of the skin and/or the white of the eyes might be the only symptom. Other symptoms may include itching, dark urine, or pale stool. Weight loss may also be observed.


The diagnosis of jaundice is made by a blood test that confirms the presence of bilirubin in your blood. Identifying the cause will require more tests and imaging investigations (ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI).


Jaundice can be a sign of a serious medical problem. Seek immediate medical advice if you noticed yellow skin, dark urine, or pale stool. Treatment for jaundice depends on the cause. When related to stones, an endoscopic procedure called Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP) may be required. (see ERCP). If the stone is blocking the bile ducts and ERCP is not able to clear them, a common bile duct exploration may be necessary (see common bile duct exploration).