Percutaneous cholecystostomy for high-risk patients with acute cholangitis

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Abstract

Percutaneous cholecystostomy (PC) is a well-established treatment for acute cholecystitis. We investigate the performance and role of PC in managing acute cholangitis.

Retrospective review on all patients who underwent PC for acute cholangitis between January 2012 and June 2017 at a major regional hospital in Hong Kong.

Thirty-two patients were included. The median age was 84 years and median American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) physical status was Class III (severe systemic disease). All fulfilled Tokyo Guidelines 2013 (TG13) diagnostic criteria for moderate or severe cholangitis. Eighty-four percent of the patients were shown to have lower common bile duct stones on imaging. The majority had previously failed intervention by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (38%), percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (38%), or both (13%)

The technical success rate for PC was 100% with no procedure-related mortality. The overall 30-day mortality was 9%. Rest of the patients (91%) had significant improvement in clinical symptoms and could be discharged with median length of stay of 14 days. Significant postprocedural biochemical improvement was observed in terms of white cell count (P < .001), serum bilirubin (P < .001), alkaline phosphatase (P = .001), and alanine transaminase levels (P < .001). Time from admission to PC was associated with excess mortality (P = .002).

PC is an effective treatment for acute cholangitis in high-risk elderly patients. Early intervention is associated with lower mortality. PC is particularly valuable as a temporising measure before definitive treatment in critical patients or as salvage therapy where other methods endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography/percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (ERCP/PTBD) have failed.

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