LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL. – Older age, diabetes, and elevated bilirubin were significant risk factors for acute gangrenous cholecystitis in a retrospective study of 489 patients undergoing cholecystectomy.
Patients with acute gangrenous cholecystitis (AGC) were on average 15 years older than those with cholecystitis without necrosis (CN) were (55.8 vs. 40.8 years; P value ≤ .001), almost five times more likely to have comorbid diabetes (32% vs. 6.7%; P≤ .05), and had significantly higher bilirubin levels (1.96 mg/dL vs. 0.89 mg/dL; P≤ .001).
The findings are consistent with previous studies showing that all three risk factors are strongly associated with gangrenous cholecystitis, Seda Bourikian reported at the annual scientific assembly of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST).
“Future studies may explore how the pathophysiology of diabetes, or the duration of illness in each patient, plays a role in the development of AGC,” the authors suggested in the poster presentation.
The chart review included 489 patients admitted to an emergency general surgery service who underwent cholecystectomy between January 2009 and April 2014. Retrospectively evaluated pathological specimen reports identified 464 patients with CN and 25 patients with AGC.
Male patients had a significantly higher incidence of AGC than CN (56% vs. 26%; P≤ .05), whereas women were less likely to have AGC (44% vs. 74%; NS), Ms. Bourikian and her colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond wrote.
Previous studies also have shown that acute cholecystitis is more common in men and patients over the age of 50 years.
Notably, lactate, obesity, and systolic blood pressure below 100 mm Hg were not different between groups.
As expected, patients with AGC were significantly more likely to die than their counterparts with cholecystitis without necrosis (16% vs. 0.86%; P≤ .05), the authors reported.
People with diabetes with AGC were almost five times more likely to die than were diabetics with CN (32% vs. 6.7%; P≤ .05). according to the authors.
Mortality, however, was nearly identical between AGC and CN patients with a systolic BP ≤ 100 mm Hg (0% vs. 0.02%; NS).
Logistic regression analysis showed that increased age (P≤ .001) and male gender (P≤ .05) were strongly associated with the development of AGC. The failure of more risk factors to pan out in logistic regression is likely because of the small number of patients with gangrenous cholecystitis, senior author and colleague Dr. Paula Ferrada of Virginia Commonwealth University suggested.
“This is not a common disease,” she said in an interview. “That’s why it’s so hard to diagnose and triage. Clinicians need to have a higher suspicion” of AGC.