Delay in Treatment of Biliary Disease during Pregnancy Increases Morbidity and Can Be Avoided with Safe Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Muench, Jeffrey; Albrink, Michael; Serafini, Francesco; Rosemurgy, Alexander; Carey, Larry; Murr, Michel M.
June 2001
American Surgeon;Jun2001, Vol. 67 Issue 6, p539
Academic Journal
Recent reports indicate that laparoscopic cholecystectomy in pregnancy is safe. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether delays in definitive treatment of symptomatic cholelithiasis increase morbidity. We reviewed the records of 16 women who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy during pregnancy between 1992 and 1999. Mean age was 24 +/- 5 years (mean +/- standard error). Symptom onset was during the first trimester in nine patients, second trimester in six patients, and third trimester in one patient. Patients had abdominal pain (93%), nausea (93%), emesis (80%), and fever (66%) for a median of 45 days (range 1-195 days) before cholecystectomy. Nine of 11 women who underwent cholecystectomy more than 5 weeks after onset of symptoms experienced recurrent attacks necessitating 15 hospital admissions and four emergency room visits. Moreover four women who developed symptoms in the first and second trimesters but whose operations were delayed to the third trimester had 11 hospital admissions and four emergency room visits; three of those four (75%) women developed premature contractions necessitating tocolytics. Cholecystectomy was completed laparoscopically in 14 women. There was no hospital infant or maternal mortality or morbidity. We recommend prompt laparoscopic cholecystectomy in pregnant women with symptomatic biliary disease because it is safe and it reduces hospital admissions and frequency of premature labor.


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