Ketamine-induced Biliary Dilatation: From Hong Kong to New York

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Ketamine is a popular drug of abuse in China, especially for young adults between the 18 and 30 years. It produces desirable short-term sensations of excitement, dream-like states, hallucinations, and vivid imagery, but is also responsible for untoward effects of the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. Abusers often present with severe abdominal pain and dysuria. In addition to its excretion in urine, ketamine is also excreted in bile and can lead to biliary dilatation. Sixteen reports of this phenomenon have been described in the literature, mostly in China. To date, this phenomenon has not been described in the United States. We present 2 cases of ketamine-induced biliary dilatation in young adult Asian patients. It is a new entity in the United States but should be recognized early, as it may prevent unnecessary investigation with blood work, imaging, therapeutic endoscopy, or even surgery.

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