Endoscopic sphincterotomy permits interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy in patients with moderately severe gallstone pancreatitis

T Ryan Heider, Alphonso Brown, Ian S Grimm, Kevin E Behrns
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2006, 10 (1): 1-5
Patients with moderately severe gallstone pancreatitis with substantial pancreatic and peripancreatic inflammation, but without organ failure, frequently have an open cholecystectomy to prevent recurrent pancreatitis. In these patients, prophylactic endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC) with endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) may prevent recurrent pancreatitis, permit laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and decrease risks. The medical records of all patients with pancreatitis undergoing cholecystectomy from 1999-2004 at the University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital were reviewed. Data regarding demographics, clinical course, etiology of pancreatitis, operative and endoscopic interventions, and outcome were extracted. Moderately severe gallstone-induced pancreatitis was defined as pancreatitis without organ failure but with extensive local inflammation. Thirty patients with moderately severe gallstone pancreatitis underwent ERC and ES and were discharged before cholecystectomy. Mean interval between ES and cholecystectomy was 102 +/- 17 days. Cholecystectomy was performed laparoscopically in 27 (90%) patients, open in three (10%) patients, and converted to open in two (7%) patients, with a morbidity rate of 7% (two patients). No patient required drainage of a pseudocyst or developed recurrent pancreatitis. Interval complications resulted in hospital readmission in seven (23%) patients. In conclusion, recurrent biliary pancreatitis in patients with moderately severe gallstone pancreatitis is nil after ERC and ES. Hospital discharge of these patients permits interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy, but close follow-up is necessary in these potentially ill patients.

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