Surgical management of acute cholecystitis in a nationwide Danish cohort

  • Kristian Kiim JensenEmail author
  • Nezha Obari Roth
  • Peter-Martin Krarup
  • Linda Bardram
Original Article



In the Danish national guidelines from 2006 on the treatment of acute cholecystitis, early laparoscopic operation within 5 days after the debut of symptoms was recommended. The aim of this study was to analyze the outcome in patients with acute cholecystitis subjected to cholecystectomy in Denmark in the five-year period hereafter.


All patients undergoing cholecystectomy in the period 2006–2010 were registered in the Danish Cholecystectomy Database, from which outcome data were collected. The effect of potential risk factors such as age, gender, BMI, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, previous pancreatitis, previous abdominal surgery, year of operation, surgical approach, and surgeon experience was analyzed.


Of 33,853 patients registered with a cholecystectomy, 4667 (14%) were operated for acute cholecystitis. In 95% of the patients, laparoscopic cholecystectomy was intended and in 5% primary open access was chosen. The frequency of conversion from laparoscopic to open surgery was 18%. High age and ASA score, operation in the early years of the period, and open or converted procedure all increased the risk of hospital stay to > 3 days or readmission. High age and ASA score, converted or open operation, and previous pancreatitis increased the risk of additional procedures. Postoperative mortality was 1.2%, and significant risk factors for postoperative death were age, low BMI, high ASA score, early year of operation, and open procedures.


Acute cholecystectomy was safely managed laparoscopically in most patients after the introduction of national guidelines, with an increasing rate of laparoscopically completed procedures during the study period.


Acute cholecystitis Laparoscopy National guidelines Postoperative complications Cholecystectomy 


Author’s contributions

J: analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of manuscript, critical revision of manuscript. R: analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of manuscript, critical revision of manuscript. K: analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of manuscript, critical revision of manuscript. B: study conception and design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of manuscript, critical revision of manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Based on national Danish law, informed consent was not needed from participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Digestive Disease Center, Bispebjerg HospitalUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryZealand University HospitalRoskildeDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Gastrointestinal SurgeryRigshospitaletCopenhagenDenmark

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