Original Articles

Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 395-399

First online:


Which procedure is best for the high-risk patient?
  • C. M. WittgenAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine
  • , J. P. AndrusAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego
  • , C. H. AndrusAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine
  • , D. L. KaminskiAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine

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Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC), which results in less postoperative pain, disability, and scarring, has become an attractive alternative method of surgical management of the ambulatory patient with gallbladder disease. The best procedure for severely ill patients who are poor operative risks but require cholecystectomy, however, is unknown since the operative morbidity and mortality of LC in this group of patients has not been studied. All patients (177) undergoing cholecystectomy at one institution were evaluated. Based on their preoperative state of health as defined by a modified acute physiologic score (APS), patients were divided into two groups; one group was defined by an APS of less than 10, indicating they were in good health, and the other had an APS greater than or equal to 10, indicating that the group had multiple risk factors, predicting an increased postoperative morbidity and mortality. Selection for either procedure, LC or open cholecystectomy (OC), was made independently of the patient's preoperative status. Patients' past medical histories; demographic, physiologic, and laboratory data; and postoperative complications were evaluated. When all cholecystectomy patients were arranged into the respective risk groups, the age and severity of illness scores (APS) between LC and OC were not statistically different. Intraoperative and postoperative complications were not significantly different when patients undergoing LC were compared to patients undergoing OC. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was associated with decreased hospitalization when compared to patients undergoing OC. The overall mortality of the patients undergoing OC was significantly greater than those undergoing LC. LC is an acceptable surgical alternative for high-risk patients requiring cholecystectomy.

Key words

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Complications Morbidity Mortality