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Early cholecystectomy prevents recurrent biliary events



Waiting to perform cholecystectomy after mild biliary pancreatitis was associated with an increased risk of recurrent biliary events in a recent study. In a retrospective study of 234 patients admitted for gallstone pancreatitis, almost 90% of recurrent biliary events occurred in patients who did not receive a cholecystectomy within 60 days of hospital discharge. The overall rate of recurrence was 19%, and over half of patients (59%) did not receive a cholecystectomy during their index hospitalization.

Surgery being performed Dmitrii Kotin/

Additionally, none of the recurrent biliary events occurred in those patients who did receive a cholecystectomy during the index hospitalization or within the first 30 days after discharge. “It really is the case that, ‘if you snooze, you lose,’ ” said Vijay Dalapathi, MD, presenting the findings during an oral presentation at the annual Digestive Disease Week.

Dr. Dalapathi and colleagues had observed that cholecystectomy during an index hospitalization for mild biliary pancreatitis was a far from universal practice, despite guidelines recommending early cholecystectomy.

To delve further into practice patterns, Dr. Dalapathi, first author Mohammed Ullah, MD, and their coauthors at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) conducted a single-site retrospective study of patients who were admitted with gallstone pancreatitis over a 5-year period ending December 2017. Dr. Dalapathi and Dr. Ullah are both second-year gastroenterology fellows.

The study had twin primary outcome measures: cholecystectomy rates performed during an index hospitalization for gallstone pancreatitis and recurrent biliary events after hospitalization. Adult patients were included if they had a diagnosis of acute gallstone pancreatitis, with or without recurrent cholangitis, choledocholithiasis, or acute cholecystitis. Pediatric patients and those with prior cholecystectomy were excluded.

A total of 234 patients were included in the study. Their mean age was 58.3 years, and patients were mostly female (57.3%) and white (91.5%). Mean body mass index was 29.1 kg/m2. A total of 175 patients (74.8%) had endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

Out of the entire cohort of patients, 138 (59%) did not have a cholecystectomy during the index hospitalization. Among the patients who did not receive a cholecystectomy, 33 (24%) were deemed unsuitable candidates for the procedure, either because they were critically ill or because they were poor candidates for surgery for other reasons. No reason was provided for the nonperformance of cholecystectomy for an additional 28 patients (20%).

The remaining 75 patients (54%) were deferred to outpatient management. Looking at this subgroup of patients, Dr. Dalapathi and his coinvestigators tracked the amount of time that passed before cholecystectomy.

The researchers found that 19 patients (25%) had not had a cholecystectomy within the study period. A total of 21 patients (28%) had the procedure more than 60 days from hospitalization, and another 23 (31%) had the procedure between 30 and 60 days after hospitalization. Just 12 patients (16%) of this subgroup had their cholecystectomy within 30 days of hospitalization.

Among patients who were discharged without a cholecystectomy, Dr. Dalapathi and his coauthors found 26 recurrent biliary events (19%): 15 were gallstone pancreatitis and 10 were cholecystitis; 1 patient developed cholangitis.

The crux of the study’s findings came when the investigators looked at the association between recurrent events and cholecystectomy timing. They found no recurrent biliary events among those who received cholecystectomy while hospitalized or within the first 30 days after discharge. Of the 26 events, 3 (12%) occurred in those whose cholecystectomies came 30-60 days after discharge. The remaining 23 events (88%) were seen in those receiving a cholecystectomy more than 60 days after discharge, or not at all.

Guidelines from the American Gastroenterological Association, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, and the American College of Gastroenterology all recommend early cholecystectomy after mild acute gallstone pancreatitis, said Dr. Dalapathi.

However, two separate systematic reviews including a total of 22 studies and over 3,000 patients showed that about half (48% and 51%) of patients admitted with mild acute biliary pancreatitis received a cholecystectomy during the index hospitalization or within 14 days of the hospitalization.

Further, he said, previous work had shown recurrent biliary event rates approaching 20% for patients whose biliary pancreatitis bout was not followed by cholecystectomy, a figure in line with the rate seen in the present study.

“Cholecystectomy should be performed during index hospitalization or as soon as possible within 30 days of mild biliary pancreatitis to minimize risk of recurrent biliary events,” said Dr. Dalapathi.

The authors reported no outside sources of funding and no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Ullah M. et al. DDW 2019, Abstract 24.

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