The impact of patient delay and physician delay on the outcome of laparoscopic cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis

Samuel Eldar, Arie Eitan, Amitai Bickel, Edmond Sabo, Ayala Cohen, Jack Abrahamson, Ibrahim Matter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is now used in the management of acute cholecystitis. Under these circumstances unfavorable conditions may result in conversion and complications. Information about these conditions may help in planning the laparoscopic approach or in proceeding directly to open cholecystectomy. This study was initiated to evaluate perioperative factors associated with conversion and complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in acute cholecystitis. Special attention was paid to the duration of complaints until surgery, to the delay on the part of the patient, and to the delay on the part of the physician. Methods: Between January 1994 and December 1997, we attempted to perform laparoscopic cholecystectomy on 348 patients with acute cholecystitis. All perioperative data were collected on standardized forms. Results: There were 182 cases (52%) of acute uncomplicated cholecystitis, 90 (26%) of gangrenous cholecystitis, 33 of hydrops (9.5%), and 43 of empyema of the gallbladder (12.5%). Seventy six patients (22%) needed conversion to open cholecystectomy and complications occurred in 57 cases. Advanced cholecystitis was associated with significant patient delay (P = 0.01), and it had a significantly higher conversion rate (39%) compared with early cholecystitis (14.5%); (P <0.00001). Conversion rates were also associated with male gender (P = 0.0017), a history of biliary disease (P = 0.0085), and a patient delay of >48 hours (P = 0.028). The total and infectious complication rates were associated with an age older than 60 years (P = 0.023 and 0.007, respectively) and male gender (P = 0.026 and 0.014, respectively). Conclusions: In acute cholecystitis, patient delay is associated with a high conversion rate. Early timing of laparoscopic cholecystectomy tends to reduce the conversion rate, as well as the total and the infectious complication rates. Male gender, a history of biliary disease, and advanced cholecystitis are associated with conversion. Male and older patients are associated with a high total and infectious complication rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


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