Uncomplicated acute cholecystitis: early or delayed laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

Recent meta-analyses suggested that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (within 1 week of symptom onset) for uncomplicated acute gallbladder disease is safe and feasible. However, surveys on surgical practices indicated that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed by only a minority of surgeons. Furthermore, the exact time-point for performing this procedure as well as its cost-effectiveness remain a matter of debate. The TBE - CiTE Journal Club performed a critical appraisal of the most relevant evidence recently published on timing of laparoscopic cholecystectomy and its cost-effectiveness for the management of uncomplicated acute cholecystitis and provides evidence-based recommendations on the topic. The literature encompasses small trials with high risk of biases. It suggests that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy is safe and shortens hospital stay. There is scarcity of well-designed and large cost-utility analyses. The following main recommendations were generated: (1) Early laparoscopic cholecystectomy should be attempted as the first-line treatment within one week of symptoms onset; and (2) The cost-effectiveness of early laparoscopic cholecystectomy should be evaluated at the individual hospital level, taking into consideration local resources such as the availability of trained personal, operating room and laparoscopic equipment.

Gallbladder; Acute disease; Cholescystitis, acute; Laparoscopy; Cholescystectomy, laparospic

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