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September 1997

Acute Postoperative Pancreatitis After Laparoscopic CholecystectomyResults of the Prospective Swiss Association of Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Surgery Study

Author Affiliations

From the Swiss Association of Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Surgery and the Department of Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern (Drs Z'graggen, Maurer, and Baer); and the Department of Surgery, Spital Aarberg, Aarberg (Drs Aronsky and Klaiber), Switzerland. A complete listing of all participating institutions and surgeons in private practice appears in the box on page 1029.

Arch Surg. 1997;132(9):1026-1030. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430330092016

Background:  The introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) changed the treatment strategies for patients undergoing biliary surgery. There is a lack of data about acute postoperative pancreatitis (APP) as a complication of LC.

Objectives:  To determine the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of APP after LC and to analyze the possible intraoperative and pathogenic factors associated with APP.

Design:  A prospective cohort study of 10 174 patients who underwent LC. The data for 32 patients with APP after the completion of LC and 8 patients with APP after an attempted LC that was converted to an open cholecystectomy were analyzed.

Setting:  A multi-institutional study of the Swiss Association of Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Surgery. Eighty-one surgical services or surgeons in private practice participated.

Results:  The incidence of APP after a completed LC was 0.34%. In comparison, the incidence of APP after conversion to an open procedure (0.96%) was significantly (P=.02) increased. A biliary origin of APP could be established in 4 (12.5%) of the 32 patients. No evidence for a causative role of intraoperative cholangiography or trauma to the pancreas was found. Factors shown to be associated with APP were the surgeon's experience level and a high morbidity of 31.3%. The mortality was 3%.

Conclusions:  The incidence of APP after LC is low; the risk increases after conversion to an open procedure. In the rare event of an APP after LC, a biliary cause should be suspected. The mortality of patients with APP did decrease substantially compared with those undergoing open biliary surgery.Arch Surg. 1997;132:1026-1030