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Br J Surg. 1992 Jul;79(7):655-8.

Risk factors and classification of acute suppurative cholangitis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Clinical Hospital, University of Chile, Santiago.


A prospective study was performed in 1282 patients with common bile duct stones to determine the clinical and laboratory parameters that could predict cholangitis, and the factors associated with greater severity of cholangitis. Patients were divided into two groups, with or without acute cholangitis, depending on the macroscopic appearance of bile aspirated from the common bile duct during surgery. Acute cholangitis was diagnosed when the aspirated fluid was turbid or clearly pus; the typical Charcot's triad was present in only 22 per cent of patients with acute cholangitis. Several clinical and laboratory parameters were significantly more common in these patients and, depending on their number, the probability of acute cholangitis increased significantly. The operative mortality rate was 1.2 per cent for patients without cholangitis and 11.9 per cent for patients with cholangitis. Depending on the number of factors present, patients with cholangitis were divided into three groups: mild acute cholangitis without mortality; moderate acute cholangitis with a mortality rate of 5.6 per cent; and severe acute cholangitis with a mortality rate of 27.5 per cent. The present classification allows the group of patients needing prompt endoscopic or surgical drainage to be identified.

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