Major bile duct injuries associated with laparoscopic cholecystectomy: Effect of surgical repair on quality of life

Genevieve B. Melton, Keith D. Lillemoe, John L. Cameron, Patricia A. Sauter, JoAnn Coleman, Charles J. Yeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the quality of life (QOL) of patients after surgical reconstruction of a major bile duct injury from laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). Summary Background Data: The incidence of bile duct injuries has increased dramatically since the introduction and widespread use of LC. Previous reports show that at long-term follow-up, most patients surgically repaired will have a successful outcome as measured by standard clinical parameters. However, there is a general impression that these patients have an impaired QOL. Data addressing QOL of these patients are limited. Methods: A standard QOL questionnaire was sent to 89 patients after successful surgical repair of a major bile duct injury from a LC treated at the Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1990 and 2000. The instrument consisted of 30 items on a visual analog scale categorized into physical (15 items), psychological (10 items), and social (5 items) domains. The same questionnaire was sent to age- and sex-matched healthy controls (n = 100) and to patients who underwent uncomplicated LC (n = 100). An additional portion of the questionnaire inquired about outcome measures and legal action undertaken by patients. Results: Overall QOL scores for bile duct injury patients in the three domains (physical, psychological, and social) were 76%, 77%, and 75%, respectively. QOL scores were comparable to those of patients undergoing uncomplicated LC and healthy controls in the physical and social domains but were significantly different in the psychological domain. Presenting symptoms, prior repair, level of injury, number of stents, length of postoperative stenting, and length of follow-up did not influence QOL scores. Repaired patients reported similar rates of abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, use of pain medications, and recent symptoms of fever or chills as LC controls. Thirty-one percent of responding bile duct injury patients reported having sought legal recourse for their injury. All QOL domain scores were significantly lower in the patients who pursued a lawsuit versus those who did not. Conclusions: This study provides formal data evaluating QOL after surgical repair of major bile duct injuries from LC. Although there was a significant difference in the QOL as evaluated from a psychological dimension, bile duct injury patients reported QOL scores in the physical and social domains comparable to those of control patients. The decreased QOL assessment in the psychological dimension may be attributable to the prolonged, complicated, and unexpected nature of these injuries. The presence of a lawsuit appears to be associated with a poorer QOL assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-895
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


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