Surgical management of acute cholecystitis at a tertiary care center in the modern era

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic; Cholecystitis, Acute; Cholecystostomy; Cohort Studies; Female; Humans; Intubation; Length of Stay; Male; Middle Aged; Patient Selection; Retrospective Studies; Treatment Outcome; United States




HYPOTHESIS: The advent of laparoscopy has changed the paradigm of surgical training and care delivery for the treatment of patients with acute cholecystitis (AC).

DESIGN: Retrospective data collection and analysis.

SETTING: Hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of AC at a tertiary care center from January 1, 2002, to January 1, 2007.

PATIENTS: During the study period, 923 patients were admitted with a primary diagnosis of AC. One hundred fourteen patients were excluded from the study because of missing data, medical management, incomplete operative notes or documents, or metastatic gastrointestinal cancer.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient demographics, preoperative morbidity, procedures (medical and surgical), and postoperative outcomes were statistically analyzed using chi(2) test, t test, and analysis of variance.

RESULTS: Eight hundred nine patients (87.6%) with a primary diagnosis of AC underwent surgery by 44 surgeons. Procedures included 663 laparoscopic cholecystectomies (LCs) (82.0%), 9 open cholecystectomies (1.1%), 51 conversions from LC to open cholecystectomy (6.3%), and 86 cholecystostomy tube placements (10.6%). During the study period, cholecystostomy tube placements increased, while open cholecystectomies and conversions from LC to open cholecystectomy decreased (P < .05). Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was associated with significantly better outcomes, including shorter postsurgical stay (2.2 vs 6.3 days for other modalities) and fewer complications (8.5% vs 17.0%).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on 5-year results from a tertiary care center, LC was performed with a low conversion rate to open surgery and was associated with decreased morbidity and mortality compared with other surgical modalities to treat AC. Our data confirm the benefits and widespread use of LC in the modern era, reflecting changes in the training paradigm and learning curve for laparoscopy.

DOI of Published Version



Arch Surg. 2010 May;145(5):439-44. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960)


Medical students Jason Wiseman, Maia Sharuk, and Anand Singla participated in this study as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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