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July 1988

Cholecystectomy and Cholelithiasis in Sickle Cell Anemia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Gastroenterology, Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Dr Malone is now with the University of Colorado, Denver.

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(7):799-800. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150070113040

• Elective cholecystectomy was performed on 12 children (eight male and four female; age range, 4 to 19 years; and mean age, 11.2 years) with abdominal pain that was related to gallstones. Seven patients had jaundice, six had nausea, five had fat intolerance, and three had biliary colic. Two simple transfusions (10 mL/kg of packed red blood cells), designed to decrease the hemoglobin S content to less than 30% and to increase the total hemoglobin level to greater than 100 g/L, were given preoperatively two to three weeks apart. A third transfusion was given on the day before surgery if the total hemoglobin level was less than 100 g/L. The preoperative mean hemoglobin S content was decreased from 88% to 31%, and the mean total hemoglobin level was raised to 122 g/L. There were no preoperative or intraoperative complications. Postoperatively, no patients developed complications that were related to sickle cell anemia. Hospitalization averaged 6.3 days. Recurrent abdominal pain resolved shortly after surgery in all patients. With proper preoperative transfusions, elective cholecystectomy is safe in children with sickle cell anemia. Elective cholecystectomy should be recommended at the time of diagnosis of cholelithiasis.

(AJDC 1988;142:799-800)

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