Journal of the American Geriatrics Society vol:41 issue:2 pages:157-62
OBJECTIVE: To assess the immediate and long-term outcomes of elderly patients with acute complicated cholecystitis treated by percutaneous cholecystostomy. To assess the results of bile cultures obtained in this group of patients. DESIGN: Case series. SETTING: Tertiary care center. PATIENTS: Thirty-two patients, with a mean (+/- S.D.) age of 78 +/- 8 years (range, 58-92 years), and who presented with acute cholecystitis complicated by empyema formation. Sixty-six percent had associated disorders, which rendered them at high risk for surgical intervention. INTERVENTION: Percutaneous transhepatic catheter drainage of the gallbladder, with a mean drainage time of 20 days (range 0-84 days). In addition, endoscopic sphincterotomy with removal of common bile duct stones was performed in six patients and percutaneous aspiration of an associated liver abscess in four cases. RESULTS: Percutaneous cholecystostomy was followed by rapid regression of clinical symptoms and of radiologic abnormalities in all patients. Sixteen cases (50%) underwent elective cholecystectomy 1-12 weeks after cholecystostomy. One of them died of aspiration pneumonia, whereas 15 had no post-operative problems and were discharged 9 days (mean) after surgery. Forty-four percent (14/32) were considered inoperable: they remained completely free of biliary symptoms and died of unrelated illness (22%) after a mean follow-up of 6 months (range, 1-22 months) or are still alive (22%) with a mean follow-up of 15 months (range, 5-36 months). Bile cultures were positive in 75% of the patients. Escherichia coli, other aerobic Gram-negative micro-organisms, and anaerobic bacterial species accounted for 35% (16/46), 28% (13/46), and 20% (9/46) of the isolated bacteria, respectively. All aerobic Gram-negative species tested in vitro were susceptible to gentamicin and to temocillin. CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous transhepatic cholecystostomy is a safe and effective procedure in the treatment of elderly high-risk patients with acute cholecystitis complicated by empyema formation. It can be followed by elective cholecystectomy, if possible, or by expectant conservative management in patients who are inoperable because of systemic disease.