This video demonstrates an early laparoscopic cholecystectomy in a diabetic 49-year-old female patient with acute gangrenous cholecystitis and biliary peritonitis. She was admitted to the emergency department with retrosternal pain radiating towards the epigastrium associated with vomiting and fever for the past 3 days. During clinical examination, she had signs of acute cholecystitis without jaundice. Her blood tests showed an important systemic inflammatory reaction without alteration of liver function tests (LFT). Finally, imaging studies (ultrasound and CT-scan) confirmed an acute calculous cholecystitis with signs of gallbladder wall ischemia and peritoneal-free fluid.
A technically challenging early laparoscopic cholecystectomy with preoperative cholangiogram was performed. The disease was controlled and the postoperative course was uneventful with patient discharge 4 days after the operation.
Early laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the standard of care for patients with mild acute cholecystitis and an onset of symptoms of less than 72 hours (Tokyo Guidelines 2013, Recommendation 1, Level A) . Patients with severe local inflammation of the gallbladder presenting factors such as >72 hours from the onset, a white blood cell count >18,000, and a palpable tender mass in the right upper abdominal quadrant have grade II (moderate) cholecystitis. For these patients, a conservative treatment with gallbladder drainage can be proposed followed by delayed cholecystectomy, as early cholecystectomy can be technically challenging. Early cholecystectomy for moderate (grade II) acute cholecystitis is recommended in experienced centers .
A recent Cochrane meta-analysis of 5 RCTs demonstrated that there was no significant difference in the proportion of people who developed bile duct injury, nor in the proportion of people who required conversion to open cholecystectomy in patients with acute cholecystitis. Total hospital stay was 4 days shorter in the early cholecystectomy group as compared to the delayed cholecystectomy group. About 20% of the people belonging to the delayed cholecystectomy group had either non-resolution of symptoms or recurrence of symptoms before their planned operation and had to undergo emergency laparoscopic cholecystectomy. However, since the incidence of major complications is rare (about 0.2%) in cholecystectomy, a trial would have to include 50,000 patients to have sufficient power for this endpoint .
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