Effect of Frailty on the Management of Suspected Choledocholithiasis

on behalf of the EAST Retained Common Bile Duct Stones Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (ASGE-SAGES) guidelines for managing choledocholithiasis (CDL) omit patient-specific factors like frailty. We evaluated how frail patients with CDL undergoing same-admission cholecystectomy were managed within ASGE-SAGES guidelines. Methods: We analyzed patients undergoing same-admission cholecystectomy for CDL and/or acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) from 2016 to 2019 at 12 US academic medical centers. Patients were grouped by Charlson comorbidity index into non-frail (NF), moderately frail (MF), and severely frail (SF). ASGE-SAGES guidelines stratified likelihood of CDL and were used to compare actual to suggested management. Rate of guideline deviation was our primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included rates of surgical site infections (SSIs), biliary leaks, and 30-day surgical readmissions. Rates are presented as NF, MF, and SF. Results: Among 844 patients, 43.3% (n = 365) were NF, 25.4% (n = 214) were MF, and 31.4% (n = 265) were SF. Frail patients were older (33y vs 56.7y vs 73.5y, P <.0001) and more likely to have ABP (32.6% vs 47.7% vs 43.8%, P =.0005). As frailty increased, guideline deviation increased (41.1% vs 43.5% vs 53.6%, P <.006). Severe frailty was predictive of guideline deviation compared to MF (aOR 1.47, 95% CI 1.02-2.12, P =.04) and NF (aOR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01-2.12, P =.04). There was no difference in SSIs (P =.2), biliary leaks (P =.7), or 30-day surgical readmission (P =.7). Conclusion: Frail patients with common bile duct stones had more management deviating from guidelines yet no difference in complications. Future guidelines should consider including frailty to optimize detection and management of CDL in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3104-3109
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
  • acute biliary pancreatitis
  • choledocholithiasis, frailty
  • common bile duct stone


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