Acalculous cholecystitis after aortic reconstruction

R. T. Hagino, R. J. Valentine, G. P. Clagett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Acute acalculous cholecystitis is rare in patients undergoing aortic surgery; but, this condition is associated with a high mortality rate. With their comorbid medical problems, patients undergoing aortic reconstruction may have a higher mortality associated with acute acalculous cholecystitis. STUDY DESIGN: By retrospectively reviewing patient charts, we studied the prevalence, demographics, details of antecedant aortic procedures, hospital course, and outcome of patients with acute acalculous cholecystitis after aortic surgery. RESULTS: In the past 10 years, 7 of the 996 patients who underwent aortic reconstruction at our institution developed postoperative acute acalculous cholecystitis. These patients were all nondiabetic men with a mean age of 66±4 years (range, 50 to 76 years). Previous aortic operations included four infrarenal aneurysmorrhaphies (three elective, one urgent for a ruptured aneurysm), two aortofemoral bypasses for occlusive disease, and a removal of an infected aortic prosthesis. Six patients had prolonged intraoperative hypotension and increased blood transfusion requirements. All patients had postoperative multiorgan dysfunction. The patients developed fever, leukocytosis, elevated liver function test levels, and other signs and symptoms of acute acalculous cholecystitis a mean of 32 days (range, 9 to 90 days) after operation. Preoperative diagnosis was made in five patients based on clinical examination, laboratory test results, and adjunctive noninvasive test results. Two patients required laparotomy to make the diagnosis of acute acalculous cholecystitis. Five patients underwent cholecystectomy, and two had placement of cholecystostomy tubes. Gangrene or perforation was evident in most. Overall mortality was 71 percent. CONCLUSIONS: Acute acalculous cholecystitis is the most common postoperative biliary complication after aortic surgery. The diagnosis should be entertained in patients with signs of abdominal sepsis after aortic surgery, especially those with a complicated postoperative course. Even if acute acalculous cholecystitis is diagnosed before exploration, mortality remains high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 22 1997
Externally publishedYes


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