South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
BOTAITIS, S et al. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy in acute cholecystitis: An analysis of the risk factors. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2012, vol.50, n.3, pp.62-70. ISSN 2078-5151.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is increasingly being used as the initial surgical approach in patients with acute cholecystitis (AC). We describe our experience with LC in the treatment of AC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study 2 412 patients underwent LC, in 315 cases for AC. The diagnosis was based on clinical, laboratory and intra-operative findings. Rates of conversion, complications, length of hospital stay, operating times, and factors associated with conversion or morbidity were analysed. RESULTS: Conversion to open cholecystectomy was necessary in 60 patients (19.04%) with AC. Factors associated with conversion were age >65 years, male gender, presence of empyema, previous abdominal surgery, and fever (temperature >37.5°C). There were no deaths, and the complication rate was 6.4%. The only risk factor for morbidity was a bilirubin level of >20.52 µmol/l. The operating time and hospital stay were significantly longer in AC than in elective cases. CONCLUSIONS: LC for AC is technically demanding but safe and effective. With patience, experience, careful dissection and identification of vital structures, the laparoscopic approach is safe in the majority of cases.