Utility of Liver Function Tests after Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Kaldor, Amy; Akopian, Gabriel; Recabaren, James; Alexander, Magdi
December 2006
American Surgeon;Dec2006, Vol. 72 Issue 12, p1238
Academic Journal
Many surgeons routinely obtain liver function tests (LFTs) after all laparoscopic cholecystectomies. Others argue that LFTs provide no useful information and add time and expense to the patient's hospitalization. This purpose of this study was to determine if routine postoperative LFTs predict complications. One hundred ninety-nine consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy were included in the analysis. Nine (4.5%) patients had postoperative complications: eight with retained common bile duct stones and one with a cystic duct stump leak. All were diagnosed with postoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. Only four of the nine patients had hyperbilirubinemia. Overall, 39 patients had postcholecystectomy hyperbilirubinemia, with four (10%) patients having complications (three retained stones and one had a bile leak). For the entire study population, there was no difference between pre- and postoperative total bilirubin and aspartate aminotransferase levels (0.6 vs 0.6 mg/dL; P = 0.623 and 25 vs 41 U/L; P = 0.111, respectively). There was a statistically significant difference in pre- and postoperative alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase (31 vs 50 U/L; P = 0.003 and 95 vs 90 U/L; P = 0.001, respectively). Postoperative elevations in liver function tests are frequently seen after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. These elevations do not predict postoperative complications. LFTs should be obtained only when clinically indicated.


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