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July 21, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(12):1119-1123. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970120001001

• Gallbladder disease, sometimes of many year's standing, frequently necessitates surgery in older people. In a series of 300 operations for gallbladder disease, in which there have been no deaths, 67 have been in patients 60 years of age and over; this included 15 patients over 70. Stones were found in 64 of the 67 patients.

Since there is a vastly increased mortality when emergency and mandatory surgery on the biliary tract is performed on the aged, it is wise to eradicate gallbladder disease before old age overtakes the patient and before concomitant disease or complications of the diseased gallbladder occur.

Regardless of the patient's age, calculous cholecystitis, whether symptomless or not, is an indication for remedial surgery, unless there is a specific contraindication to surgical intervention.

Experience with these patients has led to many important principles of preoperative care, anesthesia, surgical procedure, and postoperative care. Good teamwork on the part of all concerned is imperative. Age is no longer an excuse for delaying surgical treatment of gallbladder disease.