Acute cholecystitis

BMJ Clin Evid. 2014 Aug 20:2014:0411.


Introduction: Of people admitted to hospital for biliary tract disease, 20% have acute cholecystitis. Up to the age of 50 years, acute calculous cholecystitis is three times more common in women than in men, and about one and a half times more common in women than in men thereafter. About 95% of people with acute cholecystitis have gallstones. Optimal therapy for acute cholecystitis, based on timing and severity of presentation, remains controversial.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for acute cholecystitis? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2013 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 18 studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: early cholecystectomy, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, observation alone, open cholecystectomy, and percutaneous cholecystostomy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholecystectomy* / standards
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / complications*
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / surgery*
  • Gallstones / complications*
  • Humans