Background: Early cholecystectomy for acute calculous cholecystitis (ACC) reduces hospital stay and complications during the waiting period. The purpose of this study is to establish the patterns of management of ACC at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and to evaluate the advantages of early versus delayed cholecystectomy.
Methods: This was a retrospective chart review of patients admitted with a diagnosis of ACC. Data collection included demographics, management strategy, timing to cholecystectomy, significant events while awaiting cholecystectomy and duration of hospital stay. Mann-Whitney U and Chi-square tests were used for analysis. P-value of < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: A total of 102 patient charts were extracted, 59 of which were managed conservatively and 43 managed with early cholecystectomy. The mean time to surgery after conservative management was 173 days. About 30% of persons managed conservatively had significant attacks while awaiting surgery, which included need for re-admission and earlier intervention. There was a trend toward longer mean total hospital stay in the conservative group (xsx = 5.03, xCons = 6.12; p = 0.054).
Conclusion: Conservative management of ACC results in significant delays in definitive management and risks of complications during the waiting period. Early cholecystectomy should be encouraged even in a resource-restricted setting.