Laparoscopic cholecystectomy for gallbladder disease in patients with severe cardiovascular disease

Yu-Yin Liu, Chun-Nan Yeh, Hsiang-Lin Lee, Pao-Hsien Chu, Yi-Yin Jan, Miin-Fu Chen
World Journal of Surgery 2009, 33 (8): 1720-6

BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and gallstones are reported to be strongly associated because both diseases are frequently part of a metabolic syndrome. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has become the standard treatment for gallbladder disease around the world. Cardiovascular disease is considered as an absolute or relative contraindication for LC; however, clinical information regarding the applicability of LC for treating gallbladder disease in CVD patients is lacking. This study aims to assess the suitability of LC for the treatment of gallbladder disease in CVD patients.

METHODS: The medical records of 66 patients with severe CVD (including valvular heart disease, ischemic heart disease, and heart failure) and gallbladder disease (CVD-group) who underwent LC between 1966 and 2005 were retrospectively reviewed. Furthermore, these data were compared with the clinical features and outcomes of 8,834 patients with gallbladder disease who underwent LC but did not have severe CVD (NCVD-group).

RESULTS: Of the 8,900 patients with gallbladder disease undergoing LC, the 66 (0.74%) who comprised the CVD-group clearly exhibited advanced age, male predominance, higher blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, and a longer duration of hospitalization as compared with the NCVD-group patients. A longer duration of hospitalization and a higher incidence of acute cholecystitis and chronic cholecystitis were identified as independent factors differentiating the CVD-group patients, who had previously undergone open-heart surgery, from the NCVD-group patients who underwent LC. For the CVD-group patients, adjustment of anticoagulant therapy contributed to the longer duration of hospitalization, but postoperative complications did not. Advanced age and male predominance were identified as independent factors differentiating the patients who developed ischemic heart disease that required intervention from the NCVD-group patients undergoing LC. The operative morbidity and mortality rates of LC are likely to be similar when it is used to treat selected patients with severe CVD and gallbladder disease and when it is used to treat patients with gallbladder disease and no CVD.

CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a suitable procedure for treating selected patients with severe CVD and gallbladder disease, and its operative morbidity and mortality rates are similar in these patients and in patients with gallbladder disease alone. Nevertheless, appropriate preoperative preparations and established operative techniques in the hands of an experienced surgeon are mandatory.

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