Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Bronchobiliary fistula: a rare postoperative complication of spilled gallstones from laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  1. Nanditha Guruvaiah1 and
  2. Janardhana Ponnatapura2
  1. 1School of Medicine, St. George's University, Saint George, Grenada
  2. 2Radiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Janardhana Ponnatapura; ponnatapura{at}


Bronchobiliary fistula (BBF) is defined as the abnormal connection between the biliary system and the bronchial tree, which presents clinically as an irritant cough with bilioptysis. Many conditions can lead to its development. We present a case of an acquired BBF in a 61-year-old man with a significant history of spilled gallstones from a prior laparoscopic cholecystectomy and subsequent presentation of intermittent right upper quadrant pain and recurrent pneumonia. Imaging studies revealed a liver and subdiaphragmatic abscess with right middle lobe pneumonia and a BBF traversing the right hemidiaphragm. The patient was surgically managed by takedown of fistula with drainage of the abscess and removal of spilled gallstone, followed by a resection of the right middle lobe. While previous studies indicate spilled gallstones are benign, this case demonstrates its potential for serious complications. Therefore, early diagnosis and proper management is essential as BBF has a high morbidity and mortality rate.

  • gastrointestinal surgery
  • liver disease
  • pneumonia (respiratory medicine)
  • radiology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors Both authors have contributed equally to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.