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Am Surg. 1998 Jan;64(1):1-5; discussion 5-6.

Outcome after laparoscopic cholecystectomy for chronic acalculous cholecystitis.

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Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


Patients with typical symptoms of biliary tract disease but no gallstones on ultrasonography may benefit from cholecystectomy for presumed chronic acalculous cholecystitis. We retrospectively analyzed the outcome of 50 patients with a preoperative diagnosis of chronic acalculous cholecystitis based upon history (chronic or recurrent, postprandial right upper quadrant abdominal pain), the absence of acid-peptic disease, and normal biliary sonography treated with laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) and transcholecystic cholangiography from 1991 to 1996. All patients had preoperative cholecystokinin-stimulated hepatobiliary scintigraphy (CCK-HBS). There were 42 women and 8 men with a mean age of 43 years. CCK-HBS was abnormal in 45 patients (< or = 35 per cent gallbladder ejection fraction or nonfilling of the gallbladder). There was no postoperative mortality and one morbidity (urinary retention). All patients had microscopic evidence of chronic cholecystitis. At mean follow-up of 30 months, (range, 7-62 months) 39 patients (78%) were free of abdominal pain. Thirty-five of 45 patients with abnormal CCK-HBS were pain free (positive predictive value, 0.78). Four of five patients with normal CCK-HBS were pain free (negative predictive value, 0.20). The positive and negative likelihood ratios for CCK-HBS were 0.99 and 1.13, respectively, confirming that this test was not useful for predicting benefit from LC. Seven patients with persistent right upper quadrant pain had abnormal postoperative sphincter of Oddi manometry; they improved after endoscopic sphincterotomy. Patients with symptoms typical of biliary colic with normal gallbladder sonography and absence of acid-peptic disease benefit from LC in the majority of cases. Those who remain symptomatic after LC may benefit from endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with sphincter of Oddi manometry and endoscopic sphincterotomy when manometry is abnormal.

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