Patients from Forth Valley needed to participate in gallbladder study

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Patients in Forth Valley requiring gallbladder surgery are needed for a clinical trial which will be the first of its kind in Scotland.

The Sunflower Study aims to find out whether testing for bile duct stones is worthwhile or not in patients with a low to moderate risk.

This is because the removal of bile duct stones prior to surgery can lead to a delay in the gallbladder operation itself and increased pain and problems whilst waiting.

Gallstones sometimes pass from the gallbladder into the nearby bile duct causing problems such as jaundice and severe inflammation of the pancreas.

Fifty patients are required for the trial at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert and those who consent to participate will be divided into two groups.

One group will go straight to surgery; the other will be tested ahead of their operation. The ‘straight to surgery’ group will have twice as many people as the ‘tested’ group.

Both groups will be followed up for 18 months and information will be collected about the need for treatment of bile duct stones and any complications of surgery. The target population is adults over the age of l8 deemed to be at low or moderate risk who have been referred for laparoscopic surgery following an ultrasound or CT scan.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact Joanne Donnachie, NHS Forth Valley research nurse, by emailing or calling 01324 567670/566316.