Objective: To assess the impact of bile duct injury (BDI) sustained during laparoscopic cholecystectomy on physical and mental quality of life (QOL).
Summary background data: The incidence of BDI during laparoscopic cholecystectomy has decreased but remains as high as 1.4%. Data on the long-term outcome of treatment in these patients are scarce, and QOL after BDI is unknown.
Methods: One hundred six consecutive patients (75 women, median age 44 +/- 14 years) were referred between 1990 and 1996 for treatment of BDI sustained during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Outcome was evaluated according to the type of treatment used (endoscopic or surgical) and the type of injury. Objective outcome (interventions, hospital admissions, laboratory data) was evaluated, a questionnaire was filled out, and a QOL survey was performed (using the SF-36). Risk factors for a worse outcome were calculated.
Results: Median follow-up time was 70 months (range 37-110). The objective outcome of endoscopic treatment (n = 69) was excellent (94%). The result of surgical treatment (n = 31) depended on the timing of reconstruction (overall success 84%; in case of delayed hepaticojejunostomy 94%). Five patients underwent interventional radiology with a good outcome. Despite this excellent objective outcome, QOL appeared to be both physically and mentally reduced compared with controls (P <.05) and was not dependent on the type of treatment used or the severity of the injury. The duration of the treatment was independently prognostic for a worse mental QOL.
Conclusions: Despite the excellent functional outcome after repair, the occurrence of a BDI has a great impact on the patient's physical and mental QOL, even at long-term follow-up.