Background/aims: This study aims to evaluate the outcomes of percutaneous cholecystostomy for acute calculous cholecystitis in patients with high surgical risk and determine whether subsequent cholecystectomy is beneficial and necessary. Percutaneous cholecystostomy has been shown to be a safe treatment option for patients suffering from acute cholecystitis but at high risk for emergency surgery. Controversies still exist on the approach of the cholecystostomy and the subsequent management of these patients.
Methodology: From January 1996 to March 2004, percutaneous cholecystostomy was performed on 65 patients that suffered from acute calculous cholecystostomy but were considered high risk for emergency surgery (American Society of Anesthesiologists grade III or IV). Their clinical outcomes were described and risk factors for in-hospital mortality and recurrence of cholecystitis were identified by univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results: Percutaneous cholecystostomy was successfully performed in all patients (100%). The clinical response rate was 91%. The in-hospital mortality was 12.3%. Shock on admission was found to be a single independent risk factor for in-hospital death (p=0.006; odd ratio = 16.5; 95% CI = 2.2-123.1). Twenty-four patients underwent subsequent cholecystectomy whereas 33 did not. The 1-year and 3-year recurrence of acute cholecystitis were 35% and 46% respectively in patients who did not have subsequent cholecystectomy. Stone size > or = 1cm was independently associated with higher recurrence of acute cholecystitis (p=0.01; hazard ratio = 6.3, 95% CI 1.6-25.5). However, there was no difference in 1-year and 3-year overall survival between patients with or without cholecystectomy (82% Vs 81% and 59% Vs 63%, p=0.79).
Conclusions: Percutaneous cholecystostomy is a safe and promising treatment for acute calculous cholecystitis in patients who are at high risk for emergency surgery. Cholecystectomy after the resolution of cholecystitis and optimization of associated medical illnesses is always advisable in order to prevent recurrent cholecystitis. However, the limited survival of these patients because of their old age and medical co-morbidities should be taken into consideration.