Early Surgery for Acute Uncomplicated Cholecystitis

Data in adults suggests that early surgery is the best approach for acute uncomplicated cholecystitis:

From the following link: Early cholecystectomy beats delayed in acute cholecystitis : Internal : Acute cholecystitis patients fared significantly better with early rather than delayed laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the largest-ever randomized trial addressing surgical timing for this common condition.

Patients assigned to early cholecystectomy – that is, surgery within 24 hours of presentation to the hospital – had one-third the morbidity, markedly shorter hospital lengths of stay, and correspondingly lower hospital costs compared with patients who underwent surgery on day 7-45, according to Dr. Markus W. Buchler of Heidelberg (Ger.) University….

The optimal timing of surgical intervention in acute cholecystitis is a subject of long-standing controversy. The ACDC trial was conducted because in a Cochrane review of five smaller randomized trials totaling 451 acute cholecystitis patients, researchers concluded there was insufficient evidence to say which surgical strategy was best (Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2006 Oct 18;4:CD005440).

Dr. Buchler noted that surveys indicate many American surgeons prefer to delay laparoscopic cholecystectomy, while in Germany the surgical preference is for immediate surgery in patients with uncomplicated acute cholecystitis.

The ACDC trial involved 618 patients with uncomplicated acute cholecystitis who were placed on the same antibiotic – moxifloxacin – and randomized to early laparoscopic cholecystectomy or to delayed surgery on day 7-45. Pregnant patients were excluded from the trial, which was conducted at 35 European hospitals, including seven German university medical centers. All participating hospitals were staffed by surgical teams experienced in performing difficult laparoscopic cholecystectomies.

The primary endpoint was total morbidity within 75 days. This included cholangitis, pancreatitis, biliary leak, stroke, myocardial infarction, abscess, bleeding, peritonitis, infection, and renal failure. The rate was 11.6% in the early cholecystectomy group compared with 31.3% with delayed surgery. Among less challenging patients with an ASA score of 2 or less, the rates were 9.7% and 28.6%, respectively. Patients with an ASA score above 2 had an overall morbidity rate of 20% with early surgery compared with 47% with delayed laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

The rate of conversion to open surgery was 9.9% in the early laparoscopic cholecystectomy group and similar at 11.9% in the delayed surgery group…Total hospital stays averaged 5.4 days in the early surgery group compared with 10.0 days with delayed surgery. Mean total hospital costs calculated via the German DRG system were 2,919 euro in the early cholecystectomy group and 4,261 euro with delayed surgery.

Discussant Dr. Andrew L. Warshaw…“There’s no doubt in my mind that immediate cholecystectomy is superior in this patient population,” said Dr. Warshaw, professor and chairman of the department of surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston.

2 thoughts on “Early Surgery for Acute Uncomplicated Cholecystitis

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