Volume 48, Issue 3 (May 2003)
Stability of Cholesterol Gall Stones After 165 Years of Burial
A woman who died in 1837 was exhumed for the purposes of moving the grave to another location. During the excavation, small white deposits of stone were uncovered in the right abdominal region, inferior to the rib cage and superior to the ilium blade. These stones were analyzed for cholesterol, bilirubin, and calcium following solubilization using methyl tert-butyl ether as a solvent. The results of these clinical chemistry analyses showed that these stones consisted primarily of cholesterol. Under these particular soil conditions encountered in this case, cholesterol gall stones are stable for at least 165 years.