Persistent abdominal pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy is associated with increased healthcare consumption and sick leave

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Abstract

Background.

Although, 33% to 40% of symptomatic gallstone patients reported persistent abdominal pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy, there is no data on the burden of this pain to the healthcare system and society at large. This study determined healthcare consumption, sick leave, and costs in patients with persistent abdominal pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Secondly, predictive factors for healthcare consumption were assessed.

Methods.

This cross-sectional study included all 146 patients with persistent abdominal pain (patient-reported on Gastro-Intestinal Quality of Life Index (score 0–3) 24 weeks after laparoscopic cholecystectomy, derived from a previous prospective cohort. Healthcare consumption was assessed using Medical Consumption Questionnaire and medical records, and sick leave using Productivity Cost Questionnaire. Costs were calculated according “Guideline for performing economic evaluations in healthcare.” Predictors of healthcare consumption were assessed using logistic regression analysis.

Results.

In the study, 124/146 patients (85%) responded after mean follow-up of 31.0 months (standard deviation 6.5); 104 were female, mean age of responders was 52 years. Sixty-nine patients needed additional healthcare; 30.6% primary care; 37.1% secondary care; 16% emergency department admission; 8.9% hospital admission; 33.9% diagnostic procedures; 17.7% medication; 5.6% other interventions. Medical costs were $555 (BCa 95% confidence interval, $329–$852) and costs of sick leave were $361 (Bias-corrected and accelerated (BCa) 95% confidence interval, $189–$566) per year per patient. Younger age (odds ratio 0.95, 95% confidence interval, 0.92–0.98) and higher postoperative pain score (odds ratio 1.02, 95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.04) were associated with increased healthcare consumption.

Conclusion.

Persistent abdominal pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy is associated with additional healthcare in 56% of patients. Yearly, medical costs and costs of sick leave are 20% of the initial costs of laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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