Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. Despite this, patterns of readmission following LC are not well defined. This meta-analysis aimed to determine rates and predictors of readmission.
Methods: An ethically approved International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO)-registered meta-analysis was undertaken searching PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases from January 2013-June 2018 adhering to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Published literature potentially suitable for data analysis was graded using methodological index for non-randomised studies (MINORS) criteria; papers scoring ≥ 16/24 for comparative and ≥ 10/16 for non-comparative studies were included. A meta-analysis of potential risk factors was performed by computing the odds ratio using Mantel-Haenszel method and fixed-effects model with 95% confidence intervals.
Results: Three thousand and eight hundred thirty-two articles were reduced to 44 studies qualifying for a final analysis of 1,573,715 laparoscopic cholecystectomies from 25 countries. Overall readmission rate was 3.3% (range: 0.0-11.7%); 52,628 readmissions out of 1,573,715 LCs. Surgical complications accounted for 76% of reported reasons for readmission, predominantly bile duct complications (33%), wound infection (17%) and nausea and vomiting (9%). Pain (15%) and cardiorespiratory complications (8%) account for the remainder. Obesity, single port LC and day case LC were not associated with increased rates.
Conclusions: Pain, nausea and vomiting and surgical complications, particularly bile duct obstruction are the most common causes for readmission. Intra-operative cholangiography may reduce readmission rates. Causes for readmission were inconsistently reported throughout. The mean readmission rate of 3.3% may act as a quality benchmark for improving LC, and clearer reporting of reasons for readmission are required to advance care.
Keywords: quality care; readmission; surgical outcomes; laparoscopic cholecystectomy.