Prospective Evaluation of Early versus Delayed Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy for Treatment of Acute Cholecystitis

Chandler, Charles F.; Lane, John S.; Ferguson, Peggy; Thompson, Jesse E.; Ashley, Stanley W.
September 2000
American Surgeon;Sep2000, Vol. 66 Issue 9, p896
Academic Journal
Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is known to be safe in the treatment of acute cholecystitis (AC), the optimal timing of laparoscopic intervention remains controversial. The objective of this study is to prospectively compare the safety and cost effectiveness of early versus delayed LC in AC. Our study population consisted of 43 patients presenting with AC (localized tenderness, white blood cell count >10.0 or temperature >38.0Degrees Celcius, and ultrasound confirmation) who were prospectively randomized to early versus delayed LC during their first admission. Exclusion criteria included a history of peptic ulcer disease or evidence of gallbladder perforation. All patients were treated with bowel rest and antibiotics (piperacillin 2 g intravenous piggyback every 6 hours). Early treatment patients underwent LC as soon as the operating schedule allowed. Delayed treatment patients received anti-inflammatory medication (indomethacin 50 mg per rectum every 12 hours) in addition to bowel rest and antibiotics and underwent operation after resolution of symptoms or within 5 days if symptoms failed to resolve. Early LC was performed in 21 patients, whereas 22 patients underwent delayed LC. There was no difference in age, temperature, or white blood cell count on admission between groups. Early LC slightly reduced operative time and conversion rate. There was no difference in complications. Estimated blood loss was significantly lower in those receiving early LC. There was also a significant reduction in total hospital stay and hospital charges with early LC. We conclude that delay in operation combined with anti-inflammatory medication showed no advantage with regard to operative time, conversion, or complication rate. Furthermore, early laparoscopic intervention significantly reduced operative blood loss, hospital days, and hospital charges.


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