Laparoscopic Common Bile Duct Exploration in Elderly Patients: Is There Still a Difference?

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Purpose:Although surgery is frequently not the first treatment option in elderly patients diagnosed with common bile duct stones (CBDS) because of the fear of high morbidity and mortality rates, there are few data about the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LCBDE) in the elderly.Methods:From February 2004 to January 2012, 94 patients underwent LCBDE at our center. Data about sex, age, comorbidity, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, conversion to open surgery and bile duct clearance rate, postoperative complications, need for reoperation, and mortality were analyzed comparing patients of age 70 or older (group A, n=38) with patients aged under 70 (group B, n=56).Results:Elderly patients had significantly more preoperative risk factors. Stone extraction was equally successful in both groups (89.5% in group A vs. 96.4% in group B, P=0.176). Six patients developed medical complications (7.9% in group A vs. 5.4% in group B, P=0.621). Surgical morbidity was equivalent for both groups (13.2% in group A vs. 10.7% in group B, P=0.718). Four patients in each group experienced some grade of bile leakage. Three patients were reoperated (1 patient in group A because of a biliary peritonitis and 2 in group B after an intra-abdominal hemorrhage). There were no mortality cases directly related to surgery.Conclusions:This study reveals that LCBDE is safe in the elderly patients and results are not different from those described in the general population. Patients with choledocholithiasis should be offered to undergo an LCBDE irrespective of their age at diagnosis.

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