Treatment of Cholelithiasis in Patients With Sickle Cell Anemia

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The incidence of cholelithiasis and surgical risk of cholecystectomy in patients with sickle cell anemia is reviewed. Records of all patients with sickle cell disease currently attending the Medical University of South Carolina Hematology Clinic were reviewed. An oral cholecystogram has been part of the initial evaluation for the past year. The records of 16 patients having cholecystectomy from 1968 to 1977 were reviewed with regard to diagnostic studies, preoperative preparation, morbidity, and mortality. When the status of the gallbladder is known, the incidence of cholelithiasis is 67%. The morbidity of elective cholecystectomy was high (37%); there was one death. Cholecystectomy is not recommended for the discovery of asymptomatic gallstones because of the relatively poor surgical risk and short life expectancy of these patients.

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