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Br J Surg. 1991 Aug;78(8):964-7.

Influence of cholecystectomy on symptoms.

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Department of Surgery, William Harvey Hospital, UK.


A group of 292 consecutive patients underwent cholecystectomy for gallstones with presumed biliary pain over a 4-year period and all completed a self-assessment questionnaire before operation. Over the following 2 years 18 patients died but no others were lost to follow-up. The remaining 274 patients completed a further questionnaire 1 and 2 years after operation. Demographic characteristics and abdominal symptoms have been compared with an age- and sex-matched control group using the same questionnaire. Before operation symptoms of flatulent dyspepsia were far more frequent in patients with gallstones but operation markedly reduced these symptoms to an incidence which almost matched that of the control group. However, 1 year after cholecystectomy 34 per cent of patients still suffered some abdominal pain and of 35 patients referred back to hospital for investigation none has been shown to have a retained bile duct stone at a minimum follow-up of 5 years. A multivariate analysis indicated that preoperative flatulence together with long duration of attacks of pain are risk factors for postoperative dissatisfaction as judged by a linear analogue scale. However, both these factors are common and neither is a good discriminator of a poor outcome. The prediction of a poor symptomatic outcome after cholecystectomy from preoperative symptoms or patient characteristics had only limited success and all patients should be warned of this risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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