Cholecystostomy Treatment in an ICU Population: Complications and Risks

Surg Laparosc Endosc Percutan Tech. 2016 Oct;26(5):410-416. doi: 10.1097/SLE.0000000000000319.


Background: Percutaneous cholecystostomy tube placement has widely been used as an alternative treatment to cholecystectomy, especially in advanced disease or critically ill patients. Reported postprocedural complication rates have varied significantly over the last decade. The goal of this study is to evaluate the safety of percutaneous cholecystostomy tube treatment in critically ill patients.

Study design: We performed a retrospective chart analysis of 96 critically ill patients who underwent cholecystostomy tube placement during an intensive care unit (ICU) stay between 2005 and 2010 in a tertiary care center in central Massachusetts. Complications within 72 hours of cholecystostomy tube placement and any morbidity or mortality relating to presence of cholecystostomy tube were considered.

Results: A total of 65 male and 31 female patients with a mean age of 67.4 years underwent percutaneous cholecystostomy tube placement during an ICU stay. Sixty-six patients experienced a total of 121 complications, resulting in an overall complication rate of 69%. Fifty-four of these complications resulted from the actual procedure or the presence of the cholecystostomy tube; the other 67 complications occurred within 72 hours of the cholecystostomy procedure. Ten patients died. Tube dislodgment was the most common complication with a total of 34 episodes.

Conclusions: Cholecystostomy tube placement is associated with frequent complications, the most common of which is tube dislodgment. Severe complications may contribute to serious morbidity and death in an ICU population. Complication rates may be underreported in the medical literature. The potential impact of cholecystostomy tube placement in critically ill patients should not be underestimated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / surgery*
  • Cholecystostomy / adverse effects*
  • Cholecystostomy / instrumentation
  • Critical Care*
  • Critical Illness
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Safety
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Risk Factors