Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 70142
Management of Acute Biliary Pathology at Gozo General Hospital

Authors: Kristian Bugeja, Upeshala A. Jayawardena, Clarissa Fenech, Mark Zammit Vincenti

Abstract:

Introduction: Biliary colic, acute cholecystitis, and gallstone pancreatitis are some of the most common surgical presentations at Gozo General Hospital (GGH). National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines advise that suitable patients with acute biliary problems should be offered a laparoscopic cholecystectomy within one week of diagnosis. There has traditionally been difficulty in achieving this mainly due to the reluctance of some surgeons to operate in the acute setting, limited, timely access to MRCP and ERCP, and organizational issues. Methodology: A retrospective study was performed involving all biliary pathology-related admissions to GGH during the two-year period of 2019 and 2020. Patients’ files and electronic case summary (ECS) were used for data collection, which included demographic data, primary diagnosis, co-morbidities, management, waiting time to surgery, length of stay, readmissions, and reason for readmissions. NICE clinical guidance 188 – Gallstone disease were used as the standard. Results: 51 patients were included in the study. The mean age was 58 years, and 35 (68.6%) were female. The main diagnoses on admission were biliary colic in 31 (60.8%), acute cholecystitis in 10 (19.6%). Others included gallstone pancreatitis in 3 (5.89%), chronic cholecystitis in 2 (3.92%), gall bladder malignancy in 4 (7.84%), and ascending cholangitis in 1 (1.97%). Management included laparoscopic cholecystectomy in 34 (66.7%); conservative in 8 (15.7%) and ERCP in 6 (11.7%). The mean waiting time for laparoscopic cholecystectomy for patients with acute cholecystitis was 74 days – range being between 3 and 146 days since the date of diagnosis. Only one patient who was diagnosed with acute cholecystitis and managed with laparoscopic cholecystectomy was done so within the 7-day time frame. Hospital re-admissions were reported in 5 patients (9.8%) due to vomiting (1), ascending cholangitis (1), and gallstone pancreatitis (3). Discussion: Guidelines were not met for patients presenting to Gozo General Hospital with acute biliary pathology. This resulted in 5 patients being re-admitted to hospital while waiting for definitive surgery. The local issues resulting in the delay to surgery need to be identified and steps are taken to facilitate the provision of urgent cholecystectomy for suitable patients.

Keywords: biliary colic, acute cholecystits, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, conservative management

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