Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) in acute cholecystitis is associated with a relatively high rate of conversion to an open procedure as well as a high rate of complications. The aim of this study was to analyze prospectively whether the need to convert and the probability of complications is predictable.
Methods: A total of 215 patients undergoing LC for acute cholecystitis were studied prospectively by analyzing the data accumulated in the process of investigation and treatment. Factors associated with conversion and complications were assessed to determine their predictive power.
Results: Conversion was indicated in 44 patients (20.5%), and complications occurred in 36 patients (17%). Male gender and age >60 years were associated with conversion, but these factors had no sensitivity and no positive predictive value. The same factors, together with a disease duration of >96 h, a nonpalpable gallbladder, a white blood count (WBC) of >18,000/cc3, and advanced cholecystitis, predicted conversion with a sensitivity of 74%, a specificity of 86%, a positive predictive value of ∼40%, and a negative predictive value of 96%. However, these data became available only when LC was underway. Male gender and a temperature of >38°C were associated with complications, but these factors had no sensitivity and no positive predictive value. Progression along the stages of admission and therapy did not add predictive factors or improve the predictive characteristics. Male gender, abdominal scar, bilirubin >1 mg%, advanced cholecystitis, and conversion to open cholecystectomy were associated with infectious complications. Their sensitivity and positive predictive value remained 0 despite progression along the stages of admission and therapy.
Conclusion: Although certain preoperative factors are associated with the need to convert a LC for acute cholecystitis, they have limited predictive power. Factors with higher predictive power are obtained only during LC. The need to convert can only be established during an attempt at LC. Preoperative and operative factors associated with total and infectious complications have no predictive power.