Surg Endosc. 2021 Jul 6:1-7. doi: 10.1007/s00464-021-08593-w. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: There is no universal consensus on the optimal timing of cholecystectomy following endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP). This study aims to evaluate the effect of time delay and post-ERCP complications on cholecystectomy outcomes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: All patients who underwent pre-op ERCP for concurrent cholelithiasis and choledocholithiasis between January 2009 and August 2019 at University Hospitals Plymouth, UK, were included. Patients who underwent single-stage cholecystectomy and common bile duct exploration were excluded from the study. Based on the delay to cholecystectomy, the patients were divided into early (within 2 weeks), intermediate (2-6 weeks) and late (> 6 weeks) groups. The operative outcomes between the three groups were compared.
RESULTS: We included 444 patients in the study, with 62 (14%), 90 (20%) and 292 (66%) patients in the early, intermediate and late groups, respectively. The median duration from ERCP to cholecystectomy was 75 days. There was no statistically significant difference in the conversion-to-open rate, bile leak rate or retained stones between the three groups. The median post-operative hospital stay (PHS) was 2, 2 and 1 day (P = 0.005) in the early, intermediate and late groups, respectively. The readmission rate was significantly more in the delayed group (3.2%, 11.1% and 13.7%; P = 0.05). Patients who suffered post-ERCP complications had a significantly longer PHS (4 vs 1 day, P = 0.001) and had higher conversion-to-open rate (16 vs 4.5%, P = 0.04).
CONCLUSION: Delayed cholecystectomy following ERCP is not associated with worse peri-operative outcomes and can facilitate more day-case surgery. However, early cholecystectomy can significantly reduce readmissions with gallstone-related symptoms and its associated hospital stay. Post-ERCP complications lead to a difficult cholecystectomy.