Background: Reliable risk factors for perioperative complications in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy would be extremely useful to optimize the clinical management. This study aimed to determine risk factors that can be used for predicting perioperative complications.
Study design: Possible risk factors for perioperative complications in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy for acute and chronic cholecystitis were analyzed by a stepwise logistic regression model using data from the Swiss Association of Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Surgery (SALTS) database.
Results: A total of 22,953 patients with a mean (+/-SD) age of 54.5+/-16.1 years (range 17 to 89 years) and a male-to-female ratio of 1:2, underwent elective (85%) and emergency (15%) laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Multivariable analysis showed that male gender (odds ratio [OR]=1.16; p<0.0001), duration of intervention (OR=1.68 per 30 minutes; p<0.0001), body weight (>90 kg versus<60 kg; OR=1.34; p<0.0001), and the surgeon's own experience (>100 versus 11 to 100 interventions; OR=1.36; p<0.0002) were independently associated with an increased intraoperative local complication rate. In addition, male gender (OR=1.21; p<0.02), age (OR=1.12 per 10 years; p<0.0001), intraoperative complications (OR=2.1; p<0.0001), conversion to open surgery (OR=1.25; p<0.01), American Society of Anesthesiologists risk score (ASA score III/IV versus I/II: OR=1.28; p<0.0005), body weight (<60 kg versus>90 kg; OR=1.53; p<0.007), emergency surgery (OR=1.36; p<0.003), and duration of surgery (OR=1.28 per 30 minutes; p<0.0001) were found to be associated with a higher incidence of postoperative local complications. Higher postoperative systemic complications were encountered with conversion (OR=1.5; p<0.0002), ASA score (III/IV versus I/II: OR=1.54; p<0.0001), emergency surgery (OR=1.41; p<0.001), and a prolonged intervention time (OR=1.16 per 30 minutes; p<0.0001).
Conclusions: For patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC), the risk of possible perioperative complications can be estimated based on patient characteristics (gender, age, ASA score, body weight), clinical findings (acute versus chronic cholecystitis), and the surgeon's own clinical practice with LC. So in the likelihood of a case being a "difficult cholecystectomy," an experienced surgeon should be involved both in the decision-making process and during the operation. If LC lasts longer than 2 hours, the cumulative risk for perioperative complications is four times higher compared with an intervention that lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, independent of the surgeon's personal skills with LC.