A requiem for the cholecystokinin provocation test?

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The cholecystokinin provocation test (CCKPT) has been claimed to predict a better symptomatic result after cholecystectomy in patients with acalculous biliary pain.


To examine the predictive value of the CCKPT for symptom relief after cholecystectomy in both CCKPT positive and negative patients.

Patients and methods

Fifty eight patients with acalculous biliary pain underwent CCKPT with serial ultrasound gall bladder volumetry. CCKPT positive patients were offered cholecystectomy; negative patients were reassessed and were offered a cholecystectomy if symptoms persisted. Six months after cholecystectomy, the CCKPT was repeated.


Of 32 CCKPT positive patients, 27 underwent cholecystectomy and of these, 18 (67%) became symptom-free. Postoperatively, 20 of 25 patients converted to CCKPT negative but five remained CCKPT positive and were symptomatic. Of the 26 CCKPT negative patients, nine became symptom-free without cholecystectomy; six of 14 (42.8%) patients undergoing cholecystectomy became asymptomatic and remained CCKPT negative. Cholecystectomy seemed to reduce symptoms in both groups, but there was no significant difference in the symptomatic outcome between preoperative CCKPT positive and negative patients.


In this study, cholecystokinin provocation testing did not predict symptomatic benefit from cholecystectomy and we suggest it should no longer be in the evaluation of patients with acalculous biliary pain.

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