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. 2015 May;400(4):403-19.
doi: 10.1007/s00423-015-1306-y. Epub 2015 May 14.

Surgical Management of Acute Cholecystitis


Surgical Management of Acute Cholecystitis

Rahul S Koti et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg. .


Background: Acute cholecystitis occurs in approximately 1% of patients with known gallstones. It presents as a surgical emergency and usually requires hospitalisation for treatment. It is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in the elderly. Cholecystectomy is advocated for acute cholecystitis; however, the timing of cholecystectomy and the value of the additional treatments have been a matter of debate. This review examines the available evidence regarding the optimal surgical management of patients with acute cholecystitis.

Methods: A literature search was performed on the MEDLINE, EMBASE and WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, databases for English language publications. The MeSH headings 'cholecystitis', 'acute', 'gallbladder', 'inflammation', 'surgery', 'cholecystectomy', 'laparoscopic', 'robotic', 'telerobotic' and 'computer-assisted' were used.

Results: Data from eight randomised controlled trails and three population-based analyses show that early cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis performed on the index admission is safe and not associated with increased conversion rates or morbidity in comparison to conservative treatment followed by elective cholecystectomy. Delaying cholecystectomy increases readmissions for gallstone-related events, complications, hospital stay and mortality in the elderly. Early cholecystectomy is also more cost-effective. Randomised trials addressing antibiotic use in acute cholecystitis suggest that antibiotics should be stopped on the day of cholecystectomy. Insufficient trials have been performed to address the optimal analgesia regime post cholecystectomy. Similarly, a lack of trials on intraoperative cholangiography and management of common bile duct stones in patients with acute cholecystitis means that treatment of concomitant bile duct stones should be based on institutional expertise and resource availability. As regards acute cholecystitis in elderly and high-risk patients, case series and retrospective studies would suggest that cholecystectomy is more effective and of lower mortality than percutaneous cholecystostomy. There is not enough evidence to support the routine use of robotic surgery, single-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy or natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) in the treatment of acute cholecystitis.

Conclusions: Trial evidence would favour a policy of early laparoscopic cholecystectomy following admission with acute cholecystitis. The optimal approach to support early cholecystectomy is suggested but requires evidence from further randomised trials.

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