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Ann Surg. 2015 Nov;262(5):736-41. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001469.

Can Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Prevent Recurrent Idiopathic Acute Pancreatitis?: A Prospective Randomized Multicenter Trial.

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*Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland †Department of Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland ‡Department of Surgery, Vaasa Central Hospital, Vaasa, Finland §Division of Digestive Surgery and Urology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland ¶Department of Surgery, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland ||Department of Surgery, Kanta-Häme Central Hospital, Hämeenlinna, Finland **Department of Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital and University of Eastern Finland.



The aim of the present trial was to ascertain whether laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LCC) can prevent recurrent attacks of idiopathic acute pancreatitis (IAP).


Up to 50% to 75% of IAP may be due to microlithiasis, which is undetectable by conventional imaging methods.


This randomized, prospective trial included 85 patients (39 in the LCC and 46 in the control group) in 8 hospitals in Finland. We included adult patients (over 18 years) with their first attack of IAP. The diagnosis of IAP was based on the exclusion of common etiological reasons for acute pancreatitis (AP), whereafter the patients were randomized into conservative watchful waiting (controls) or LCC group. The primary end point was the number of patients with recurrent AP during the follow-up. All recurrent attacks of AP after an initial IAP episode were registered.


During a median follow-up of 36 (5-58) months, the recurrence of IAP was significantly higher in the control group than in LCC group (14/46 vs. 4/39, P = 0.016), as was also the number of recurrences (23/46 vs. 8/39, P = 0.003). In the subgroup of patients with at least 24 months' follow-up, the recurrence was still higher among controls (14/37 vs. 4/35, P = 0.008). In patients with normal liver function, recurrence was also significantly higher in the control than in the LCC group (13/46 vs. 4/39, P = 0.026). During surgery, 23/39 (59%) of the gallbladders were found to contain biliary stones or sludge.


LCC can effectively prevent the recurrence of IAP when all other possible etiologies of pancreatitis are carefully excluded. A total of 5 patients needed to be treated (NNT-value) to prevent 1 IAP.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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