BACKGROUND: Cholecystectomy is considered the standard treatment for acute cholecystitis and symptomatic gallstones. An increasing number of frail elderly patients are being referred for this surgical treatment. A better understanding of surgical outcome in the elderly is needed to improve quality of care.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 565 patients who underwent cholecystectomy was performed. Focus of the analyses was on postoperative complications and its predictors.
RESULTS: The study population was divided in two cohorts; aged <70. More complications were found in patients aged ≥70 years. More elderly patients were admitted to the intensive care, respectively 4.0% and 14.1% (P = 0.045). Hospital mortality was 6% in patients aged ≥70 years vs 0.6% in patients <70.
CONCLUSION: In elderly patients, the complication and mortality rate following cholecystectomy is higher than previously reported. For high-risk patients aged ≥70 with cholecystitis, alternative therapies should be considered as a bridge to surgery or definite treatment.