Brian Ngure Kariuki, Hassan Saidi, Bernard Ndung’u, Wycliffe Kaisha, Julius Ogeng’o
Correspondence to Brian Ngure Kariuki. Department of Human Anatomy, University of Nairobi, School of Medicine,

Morphometric properties of the gallbladder such as length, diameter and volume are determinants of gallbladder function. These parameters are altered with age and may explain the age-related reduction in gallbladder contractility associated with gallstone formation. Ninety-two gallbladder specimens of subjects aged between 21 and 84 were sourced from City mortuary and the Department of Human anatomy during autopsy. For each gallbladder specimen, measurements of length and circumference were taken to the accuracy of 0.1millimetres (mm) and used to calculate the gallbladder volume. These measurements were standardized using measurements of liver length and weight. Data were recorded by age categories in age groups of 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60 and 61 or more years. The mean gallbladder volume was 47.948 (±19.080) cm3 and showed a statistically significant increase with age (p <0.001). There was also a significant increase of gallbladder length (p =0.01) and diameter (p <0.001). A positive correlation was observed between gallbladder length, diameter and volume; 0.282, 0.485 and 0.480 respectively (p = 0.01). The gallbladder volume which is a function of length and diameter, shows a statistically significant increase with age. Notably, there is a marked increase in these parameters after the fifth decade. This could explain the exponential increase in prevalence of cholelithiasis by 4 to 10 times after the fifth decade of life.
Keywords: Gallbladder volume, Contractility, Age, Cholelithiasis
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