Background: This study was designed to determine the number of cases and amount of operating room time required, for a population of 600,000, to provide definitive treatment in the form of cholecystectomy for all patients admitted as an emergency with cholecystitis.
Methods: The total number of patients admitted to a single NHS trust in South East Wales with the diagnosis of cholecystitis during a 1-year period was assessed. The number of laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed and the time taken was investigated with the conversion rates.
Results: There were a total of 787 individual emergency admissions attributed to cholecystitis, and 224 patients (36%) underwent cholecystectomy on the same admission. The median operative time was 77 (range, 23-238) min, and the median operating room time was 108 (range, 37-278) min. To treat all patients definitively would necessitate 12 cholecystectomies per week, requiring 1,296 min or 5.4 sessions of operating room time.
Conclusions: A population of 600,000 could be expected to generate enough emergency cholecystectomies to require more than one operating session per day. A significant increase in emergency operating room availability would be necessary to allow the provision of definitive treatment for all emergency admissions with cholelithiasis.