Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Academic Program

Master of Science in Clinical Investigation



First Thesis Advisor

Heena Santry, MD, MS


Aged, Cholecystectomy, Cholecystitis, Acute Cholecystitis, Cholecystostomy, Treatment Outcome


Theses, UMMS; Aged; Cholecystectomy; Cholecystitis; Cholecystitis, Acute; Cholecystostomy; Treatment Outcome


Background: Treatment decisions for elderly patients with gallbladder pathology are complex. Little is known about what factors go into treatment decisions in this population. We used Medicare data to examine gender-based differences in the use of cholecystectomy vs. cholecystostomy tube placement in elderly patients with acute cholecystitis.

Methods: We queried a 5% random sample of Medicare data (2009-2011) for patients >65 admitted for acute cholecystitis (by ICD-9 code) who subsequently underwent a cholecystectomy and/or cholecystostomy tube placement. Demographic information (age, race), clinical characteristics (Elixhauser index, presence of biliary pathology), and hospital outcomes (case fatality rate, length of stay, need for ICU care) were compared by gender. A multivariable model was used to examine predictors of cholecystectomy vs. cholecystostomy tube placement.

Results: Of 4063 patients admitted with cholecystitis undergoing the procedures of interest just over half (58%) were women. The majority of patients (93%) underwent cholecystectomy. Compared to women, men were younger (average age 76 vs. 78, p value < 0.01) and had few comorbidities (average Elixhauser 1.2 vs. 1.4 p value < 0.01). Case fatality rate was similar between men (2.5%) and women (2.4% p value 0.48). A higher percentage of men spent time in the ICU (36%) compared to women (31% p value < 0.01). On multivariable analysis men were 30% less likely to undergo cholecystectomy (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.53-0.91).

Conclusion: Elderly men are less likely than elderly women to undergo cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis despite being younger with less co morbidity and are more likely to spend time in the ICU. More research is needed to determine whether a difference in treatment is contributing to the higher rate of ICU utilization in elderly men with acute cholecystitis.



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