Risk Factors for Urgent or Emergent Cholecystectomy Mid-workup for Symptomatic Cholelithiasis

Sydney E. Dishman, Rathnayaka M.K.D. Gunasingha, William P. Hennrikus, Brittany H. Strahan, Megan C. Bartel, Carolyn E. Gosztyla*, Matthew J. Bradley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients who undergo cholecystectomy often do so for diagnoses related to the sequelae of gallstones. Many patients present acutely, requiring urgent removal due to complications of cholelithiasis. This study aims to characterize the patient population likely to present acutely during ongoing workup for cholelithiasis to better identify those who may benefit from expedited care. Methods: Medical records of all adult patients who underwent cholecystectomy for indications related to cholelithiasis between 2015 and 2016 were reviewed retrospectively. Qualitative data was analyzed using Chi square test and quantitative data was analyzed using independent t-tests. Results: One hundred and seventy-four cholecystectomies were performed. Overall, 74.2% of the procedures were done electively while 25.8% were done urgently. And 42.2% of patients who underwent acute surgical intervention had evidence of prior workup. Patients requiring urgent intervention during ongoing diagnostic evaluation were more likely to have initially presented to an emergency department (ED) than another provider (68.4% vs 31.3%, P <.001) and had an odds ratio of 4.7 for undergoing acute intervention if they initially presented to the ED. They also tended to be more temporally remote from their initial diagnosis (119 ± 142 vs 74.6 ± 68.2 days, P <.19) relative to those who underwent elective operations. Discussion: Patients who require urgent intervention during ongoing workup for cholelithiasis have prolonged courses of care and present to the ED more often for initial evaluation when compared to those who undergo elective intervention. These findings suggest that an emphasis on expedited workup of cholelithiasis and early surgical referral may be warranted, especially for those who initially present in the ED.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2136-2140
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • biliary
  • gastrointestinal
  • general surgery
  • surgical quality


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