Morbidity following emergency and elective cholecystectomy: a retrospective comparative cohort study

James Lucocq (Lead / Corresponding author), Ganesh Radhakishnan, John Scollay, Pradeep Patil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: An emergency laparoscopic cholecystectomy (EMLC) is commonly performed for all biliary pathology, yet EMLC can be challenging due to acute inflammation. Understanding the risks of EMLC is necessary before patients can make an informed decision regarding operative management. The aim of the present study was to compare rates of operative and post-operative outcomes between EMLC and elective LC (ELLC) using a large contemporary cohort, to inform the consent process and influence surgical decision making.

Methods: All patients who underwent EMLC and ELLC in one UK health board between January 2015 and December 2019 were considered for inclusion. Data were collected retrospectively from multiple regional databases using a deterministic records-linkage methodology. Patients were followed up for 100 days post-operatively for adverse outcomes and outcomes were compared between groups using both univariate and multivariate analysis adjusting for pre-operative factors.

Results: A total of 2768 LCs were performed [age (range), 52(13–92); M:F, 1:2.7]. In both the univariate and multivariate analysis, EMLC was positively associated with subtotal cholecystectomy (RR 2.0; p < 0.001), post-operative complication (RR 2.8; p < 0.001), post-operative imaging (RR 2.0; p < 0.001), post-operative intervention (RR 2.3; p < 0.001), prolonged post-operative hospitalisation (RR 3.8; p < 0.001) and readmission (RR 2.2; p < 0.001). EMLC had higher rates of post-operative mortality in univariate analysis (RR 10.8; p = 0.01).

Discussion: EMLC is positively associated with adverse outcomes versus ELLC. Of course this study does not focus on a specific biliary pathology; nevertheless, it illustrates the additional risk associated with EMLC. This should be clearly outlined during the consent process but should be balanced with the risk of further biliary attacks. Further studies are required to identify particular patient groups who benefit from elective surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8451-8457
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Early online date24 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Complication
  • Elective
  • Emergency
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Morbidity
  • Subtotal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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