BACKGROUND: We assessed whether the increase in performance of laparoscopic cholecystectomy has affected patients aged 80 and older and if outcomes of a laparoscopic approach in this population would show improvement over those for open surgery. METHODS: we analyzed an 11-state discharge database obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Release 1 contains a 20% sample of United States hospitals for the period 1988 to 1992. Diagnosis-related group (DRG) codes 197 and 198 were searched, and demographics, type of surgery, and outcome measures were analyzed. RESULTS: In 5 years, 350,451 patients underwent cholecystectomy with the DRG codes listed. Of those, 18,500 patients were aged 80 to 105. The total number of cholecystectomies increased each year. Performance of laparoscopic cholecystectomy rose rapidly and that of open cholecystectomy decreased. Overall mortality with laparoscopic cholecystectomy was 1.8%, was lower than that of open cholecystectomy, was lower in women, and decreased with time. CONCLUSIONS: Patients aged 80 and older have participated in the increased performance of cholecystectomy and the switch to laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This has a low mortality, low length of stay, and higher proportion of patients being discharged to home compared with patients having open cholecystectomy.
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