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A Comparative Analysis of "Surgery First" vs. "Endoscopy First" for Pediatric Choledocholithiasis Presenting at the End of the Week.

American Surgeon 2024 May 5
BACKGROUND: Choledocholithiasis in children is commonly managed with an "endoscopy first" (EF) strategy (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) under a separate anesthetic). Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography is limited at the end of the week (EoW). We hypothesize that a "surgery first" (SF) approach with LC, intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC), and possible laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LCBDE) can decrease length of stay (LOS) and time to definitive intervention (TTDI).

METHODS: This is a retrospective single-center cohort study conducted between 2018 and 2023 in pediatric patients with suspected choledocholithiasis. Work week (WW) presentation included admission between Monday and Thursday. Time to definitive intervention was defined as time to LC.

RESULTS: 88 pediatric patients were identified, 61 managed with SF (33 WW and 28 EoW) and 27 managed with EF (18 WW and 9 EoW). Both SF groups had shorter mean LOS for WW and EoW presentation (64.5 h, 92.4 h, 112.9 h, and 113.0 h; P < .05). There was a downtreading TTDI in the SF groups (SF: WW 24.7 h and EoW 21.7 h; EF: WW 31.7 h and EoW 35.9 h; P = .11). 44 patients underwent LCBDE with similar success rates (91.6% WW and 85% EoW; P = 1.0). All EF patients received 2 procedures; 69% of SF patients were definitively managed with one.

CONCLUSION: Children with choledocholithiasis at the EoW have a longer LOS and TTDI. These findings are amplified when children enter an EF treatment pathway. An SF approach results in shorter LOS with fewer procedures, regardless of the time of presentation.

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