Early versus delayed approach in cholecystectomy after admission to an emergency department. A multicenter retrospective study

G Chir. Jul-Aug 2018;39(4):232-238.


Background: Discussion regarding the timing of cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis is still ongoing. This study evaluates the outcomes of patients who underwent surgery for acute cholecystitis after emergency admission at St. Orsola University Hospital of Bologna and Umberto I Hospital La Sapienza University of Rome.

Patients and methods: . We performed a retrospective study on 464 patients who underwent cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis. We divided patients in three groups based on the time elapsed between the onset of symptoms and surgery: within 72 hours (Group A), between 72 hours and 6 weeks (Group B) and after 6 weeks (Group C). We performed both univariate and multivariate statistical analysis on the data collected.

Results: The best results were in Group C, with significant differences with the others two groups: higher rates of laparoscopic technique (93% of cases), no mortality, better morbidity and shorter hospital stay. On the contrary, no significant differences were observed between Groups A and B: laparoscopic cholecystectomy 67% vs 66%, morbidity (Clavien-Dindo III-IV) 5% vs 5%, mortality 2% vs 1%, hospital stay 6,6 vs 5,6 days. Conversion rate was 11% in Group A, 18% in Group B and 4% in Group C.

Conclusion: Our experience shows better results for cholecystectomies performed after 6 weeks from the onset of symptoms, while earlier cholecystectomies have worse outcomes regardless if they are performed before or after 72 hours from the onset of symptoms.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholecystectomy / methods*
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / methods
  • Cholecystitis / surgery
  • Comorbidity
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operative Time
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time-to-Treatment*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult