Cholecystectomy in cirrhotic patients: a formidable operation

Am J Surg. 1982 Jan;143(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(82)90129-5.


Cholecystectomy and common bile duct exploration in cirrhotic patients is associated with an 83 percent mortality if prothrombin time is prolonged 2.5 seconds over control. The causes of death are related to complications of liver disease such as hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, sepsis and hemorrhage. If the prothrombin time is prolonged, major intraoperative blood loss can be anticipated, and blood and plasma transfusion requirements may be massive. Jaundice in the presence of cirrhosis requires careful preoperative evaluation and is most frequently due to hepatocellular disease rather than extrahepatic biliary obstruction. Cholecystectomy and common duct exploration in cirrhotic patients should be performed only for life-threatening complications of biliary tract disease such as empyema, perforation and ascending cholangitis.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion
  • Cholecystectomy*
  • Gallbladder Diseases / complications
  • Gallbladder Diseases / surgery*
  • Gallstones / complications
  • Gallstones / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Mortality
  • Postoperative Complications