, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 241-246
Date: 07 Feb 2014

Changing management of gallstone disease during pregnancy

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Background: Symptomatic gallstones may be problematic during pregnancy. The advisability of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is uncertain. The objective of this study is to define the natural history of gallstone disease during pregnancy and evaluate the safety of LC during pregnancy.

Methods: Review of medical records of all pregnant patients with gallstone disease at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1980 to 1996.

Results: Of approximately 29,750 deliveries, 47 (0.16%) patients were treated for gallstone disease, including biliary colic in 33, acute cholecystitis in 12, and pancreatitis in two. Conservative treatment was attempted in all patients but failed in 17 (36%) cases. Two patients required combined preterm Cesarean-section cholecystectomy and 10 required surgery in the early postpartum period for persistent symptoms. Seventeen patients required cholecystectomy during pregnancy for biliary colic (10), acute cholecystitis (six), and pancreatitis (one). Three patients were treated with open cholecystectomy. Fourteen patients underwent LC at a mean gestational age of 18.6 weeks, mean OR time of 74 min, and mean length of stay of 1.2 days. Hasson cannulation was utilized in 11 patients. Reduced-pressure pneumoperitoneum (6–10 mmHg) was used in seven patients. Prophylactic tocolytics were used in seven patients, with transient postoperative preterm labor observed in one. There were no open conversions, preterm deliveries, fetal loss, teratogenicity, or maternal morbidity.

Conclusions: In past years, symptomatic gallstones during pregnancy were managed conservatively or with open cholecystectomy. LC is a feasible and safe method for treating severely symptomatic patients.

Received: 3 April 1997/Accepted: 5 July 1997