Laparoscopic cholecystectomy in Child-Pugh class C cirrhotic patients

Giuseppe Currò, Giuliano Iapichino, Giuseppinella Melita, Cesare Lorenzini, Eugenio Cucinotta
JSLS: Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons 2005, 9 (3): 311-5

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine whether laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a safe and advisable procedure in Child-Pugh C cirrhotic patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis.

METHODS: The records of 42 laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed between January 1995 and February 2004 in patients with Child-Pugh A, B, and C cirrhosis were retrospectively reviewed, focusing on the 4 patients with Child-Pugh C cirrhosis.

RESULTS: Among the 38 Child-Pugh A and B patients, no deaths occurred. In this group, only 1 Child-Pugh B cirrhotic patient required blood transfusion, and postoperative morbidity occurred in 10 patients including hemorrhage, wound infection, intraabdominal collection, and cardiopulmonary complications (morbidity rate 26%). The mean postoperative stay was 5 days (range, 3 to 13). The indication for surgery in the 4 Child-Pugh C patients was acute cholecystitis. In this group, 2 deaths occurred for severe liver failure in 1 case and for sepsis in the other. One patient developed heavy gallbladder bed bleeding, and a second operation was necessary to control the hemorrhage. The morbidity rate was 75%. Only 1 patient had no complications. The mean postoperative stay was 10 days (range, 4 to 17).

CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a safe procedure in well-selected Child-Pugh A and B cirrhotic patients indicated for surgery, but it is a very high-risk procedure in Child-Pugh C patients. Indications for surgery in Child-Pugh C patients should be evaluated very carefully and surgery should be avoided unless the patient needs an emergency cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis. Child-Pugh C cirrhotic patients might better benefit from percutaneous drainage of the gallbladder.

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