Percutaneous cholecystostomy as an alternative to cholecystectomy in high risk patients with biliary sepsis: a district general hospital experience
INTRODUCTION: Cholecystectomy is the standard treatment for patients with acute cholecystitis. However, percutaneous cholecystostomy (PC) is an alternative for patients at high risk for surgery. We present our five-year clinical experience with the aim of evaluating the efficacy of PC in high risk patients. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed on 30 consecutive patients who underwent PC at our institution. The indications for cholecystostomy, route of insertion, technical success, clinical improvement, length of hospitalisation, in-hospital or 30-day mortality, complications, subsequent admissions and performance of interval cholecystectomy were recorded. The median follow-up period was 25 months (range: 1-52 months). RESULTS: Thirty-two PCs were performed in thirty patients (mean age: 76.1 years; range: 52-90 years). The indications for PC were acute calculous cholecystitis (29/32), acalculous cholecystitis (1/32) and emphysematous cholecystitis (2/32). The route of insertion was transperitoneal for 22/32 PCs (68.8%) and transhepatic for 10/32 (31.2%). The procedure was technically successful in all patients although 2/22 transperitoneal drains (9.1%) were dislodged subsequently. Twenty-seven PCs (84.4%) resulted in clinical improvement within five days. The in-hospital or 30-day mortality rate was 16.7% (5/30). Eleven patients (36.7%) had a subsequent cholecystectomy: 6 were laparoscopic and 5 converted to open procedures at a median interval of 58 days (range: 1-124 days). CONCLUSIONS: PCs are straightforward with few complications. Most patients improve clinically and the procedure can therefore be used as a definitive treatment in unfit patients or as a bridge to surgery in those who might subsequently prove fit for a definitive operation.