Value of EGD in patients referred for cholecystectomy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Mark P Lamberts, Wietske Kievit, Cihan Özdemir, Gert P Westert, Cornelis J H M van Laarhoven, Joost P H Drenth
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 2015, 82 (1): 24-31

BACKGROUND: As many as 33% of patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis report persisting abdominal pain after cholecystectomy, suggesting alternative causes of these symptoms. EGD may serve as a tool to identify additional symptomatic abdominal disorders beforehand to avoid unnecessary gallbladder surgery. There is controversy as to whether routine EGD before cholecystectomy is appropriate.

OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the value of EGD before cholecystectomy.

DESIGN: A systematic literature search was conducted to identify studies that reported the proportion of patients who were referred for cholecystectomy, but in whom initial surgery could be avoided after treatment of abnormalities detected with EGD. Pooled estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by using random-effects models.

SETTING: Meta-analysis of 12 cohort studies.

PATIENTS: A total of 6317 patients with cholelithiasis underwent EGD.

RESULTS: The pooled estimate of abnormalities detected with EGD was 36.3% (95% CI, 28.0-45.0). In a total of 3.8% (95% CI, 1.4-7.6) of patients referred for cholecystectomy who underwent previous EGD, gallbladder surgery was avoided.

LIMITATIONS: Lack of information regarding characteristics of patients referred for cholecystectomy, criteria for performing EGD, algorithms for the treatment of identified pathologies, and response criteria for the decision to avoid cholecystectomy in included studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that, despite the high diagnostic yield of EGD, its value as a tool to prevent gallbladder surgery is limited. EGD should only be considered selectively in patients with cholelithiasis referred for cholecystectomy.

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