Increased laparoscopic experience does not lead to improved results with acute cholecystitis

Jeffrey S. Bender, Mark D. Duncan, Paul D. Freeswick, John W. Harmon, Thomas H. Magnuson, Ronald Squires, Victor Zannis, Jameson Forster, Steve Shapiro, Sara Hartsaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: As laparoscopic experience increases, ever more challenging cases are attempted. Enlarged surgeon experience, along with better technology, has been lauded as improving outcomes. The purpose of this study is to see if this applies to the management of acute cholecystitis. Methods: We reviewed our experience over a 7 and a half year period. Information was obtained from a prospectively maintained computer database containing patient presentation, demographics, workup, laboratory values, and outcomes. Diagnosis of gangrene was based on pathologic examination of the specimen. Results: There were 305 patients admitted to our institution with acute cholecystitis. Group I (n = 111) was admitted during the first half of the study and group II (n = 194) during the second half. Demographics were similar in the two groups. While slightly more patients were attempted laparoscopically in group II (90% versus 82%), conversion rates were virtually identical (27.1% versus 27.5%). There was a trend toward improved results with group II versus group I in mortality (3% versus 4%) and morbidity (14% versus 21%; P = not significant). Deaths were divided between sepsis and cardiac events. Gangrenous cholecystitis was less frequent in group II patients (29% versus 40%; P = 0.06). Analysis of gangrene versus non-gangrene patients within each group showed that conversion rates remained twice as high (40% versus 20%; P < 0.05) in those with gangrene. Interestingly, gangrene had no effect on morbidity or mortality. Conclusions: Morbidity and mortality for acute cholecystitis remain relatively high. These seem to be determined by the degree of acute and chronic illness present at the time of diagnosis. As conversion rates remain unchanged, increased surgeon experience and further advances in laparoscopic technology are unlikely to dramatically affect results. Efforts to improve outcomes for this common disease should therefore focus on better and earlier identification of patients for operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-594
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Laparoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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