Gallstone disease in Peruvian coastal natives and highland migrants

P. L. Moro, W. Checkley, R. H. Gilman, L. Cabrera, A. G. Lescano, J. J. Bonilla, B. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background - In a previous study, we found that gallstones were a common occurrence in the high altitude villages of the Peruvian Andes. Aims - To determine if high altitude (≥ 1500 m) is a contributing risk factor for gallstone disease. Methods - We conducted a cross sectional study in a periurban community in Lima, Peru, and compared the prevalence of gallstone disease between coastal natives, highland (Sierra) natives and Sierra natives who had migrated to the coast. We also compared the prevalence rates from this study with those from a previous study conducted at high altitude. We examined 1534 subjects >15 years of age for gallstone disease. Subjects were inter, viewed for the presence or absence of risk factors. Results - Gallstone disease was more common in females (16.1 cases per 100, 95% CI 13.8-18.2) than in males (10.7 per 100, 95% CI 8.0-13.4). Females had a greater risk of gallstone disease, especially if they had used oral contraception and/or had four or more children. The age adjusted prevalence was not significantly different between coastal natives, Sierra migrants, and Andean villagers. The prevalence of gallstone disease was not associated with time since migration or with having native Sierra parents. After adjusting for other risk factors, Sierra natives who migrated to the coast had a lower prevalence of gallstone disease than coastal natives (odds ratio 0.74, 95% CI 0.58-0.94). Conclusions - This study indicates that high altitude is not a positive risk factor for gallstone disease and confirms that this disease is common in Peruvians, which may be attributable to Peruvian-Indian ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-573
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cholelithiasis
  • Epidemiology
  • Gallstone disease
  • High altitude
  • Peru
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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