Choledocholithiasis in acute calculous cholecystitis: guidelines and beyond

Authors Siddhartha Reddy, Nitin Jagtap, Rakesh Kalapala, Mohan Ramchandani, Sundeep Lakhtakia, Jahangeer Basha, Zaheer Nabi, Arun Karyampudi, Radhika Chavan, Manu Tandan, Rajesh Gupta, D. Nageshwar Reddy.


Background Acute calculous cholecystitis (ACC) is the most frequent complication of gallstones requiring cholecystectomy. These patients may have coexisting choledocholithiasis. We aimed to evaluate the role of current guidelines for choledocholithiasis in patients with ACC.

Methods In this retrospective study, we included all patients diagnosed with ACC between December 2018 and May 2019. These patients were substratified according to the guidelines of the American and European Societies of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE and ESGE) as having high, intermediate, or low likelihood of choledocholithiasis, and the diagnostic performance was measured. Binomial logistic regression analysis was applied to ascertain independent risk factors for choledocholithiasis.

Results A total of 173 patients with ACC, mean age (±standard deviation) 49.89±15.74 years and 60.1% male, were included. Sixty-three (36.4%) had confirmed choledocholithiasis. ASGE high likelihood criteria had sensitivity and specificity of 61.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 48.8-73.9) and 83.4% (95%CI 75.4-90.0) for predicting choledocholithiasis. ESGE high likelihood criteria had sensitivity and specificity of 49.2% (95%CI 36.4-62.1) and 87.3% (95%CI 79.6-92.9). On logistic regression analysis, an alkaline phosphatase level above the upper limit of normal (P=0.003; odds ratio [OR] 4.26, 95%CI 1.66-10.96) and a dilated common bile duct on ultrasound (P=0.001; OR 9.97, 95%CI 4.65-21.36) were independent positive predictors for choledocholithiasis, while acute biliary pancreatitis was an independent negative predictor (P=0.030; OR 0.36, 95%CI 0.14-0.91).

Conclusions The performance of the ASGE and ESGE guidelines’ risk stratification criteria is inadequate in patients with ACC. We suggest the utilization of a separate predictive model for suspected choledocholithiasis in these patients.

Keywords Acute calculous cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, predictors, gallstones, risk

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (2): 247-252

Original Articles