Acute Cholecystitis Complicating Trauma

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Twelve patients developed acute cholecystitis complicating trauma. Acute acalculus cholecystitis was present in 11 patients. Nine patients died. A review of 20 reports comprising 98 patients shows 86.7% had acute acalculus cholelithiasis, and 61.1% had necrosis, gangrene, and/or perforation of the gallbladder. The overall mortality was 33.3% and only 16.1% of patients treated by cholecystectomy died. The etiology of acute cholecystitis complicating trauma is multifactorial. Gallstones are present infrequently whereas shock, increased bile pigment load, drugs, surgery, and (other) trauma are common precursors. Diagnosis is difficult and depends upon clinical suspicion and the physical examination. Immediate surgical intervention is required. Cholecystectomy is the procedure of choice. We recommend cholecystectomy at initial laparotomy whenever there is evidence of trauma to the gallbladder, or if the right or common hepatic artery is ligated for hepatic bleeding.

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