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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1999 Nov;34(11):1144-52.

Preoperative prediction model of outcome after cholecystectomy for symptomatic gallstones.

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Dept. of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



After cholecystectomy for symptomatic gallstone disease 20%-30% of the patients continue to have abdominal pain. The aim of this study was to investigate whether preoperative variables could predict the symptomatic outcome after cholecystectomy.


One hundred and two patients were referred to elective cholecystectomy in a prospective study. Median age was 45 years; range, 20-81 years. A preoperative questionnaire on pain, symptoms, and history was completed, and the questions on pain and symptoms were repeated 1 year postoperatively. Preoperative cholescintigraphy and sonography evaluated gallbladder motility, gallstones, and gallbladder volume. Preoperative variables in patients with or without postcholecystectomy pain were compared statistically, and significant variables were combined in a logistic regression model to predict the postoperative outcome.


Eighty patients completed all questionnaires. Twenty-one patients continued to have abdominal pain after the operation. Patients with pain 1 year after cholecystectomy were characterized by the preoperative presence of a high dyspepsia score, 'irritating' abdominal pain, and an introverted personality and by the absence of 'agonizing' pain and of symptoms coinciding with pain (P < 0.000001). In a constructed logistic regression model 15 of 18 predicted patients had postoperative pain (PVpos = 0.83). Of 62 patients predicted as having no pain postoperatively, 56 were pain-free (PVneg = 0.90). Overall accuracy was 89%.


From this prospective study a model based on preoperative symptoms was developed to predict postcholecystectomy pain. Since intrastudy reclassification may give too optimistic results, the model should be validated in future studies.

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