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New Study Sheds Light on Emergency Gallbladder Removal

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 11:05am

Gallstone pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit emergency rooms. Figuring out who needs emergency gallbladder removal and who can go home and schedule surgery at their convenience is sometimes a tricky question, and it isn’t always answered correctly.

A new Mayo Clinic study found that 1 in 5 patients who went to the emergency room with gallbladder pain and were sent home to schedule surgery returned to the ER within 30 days needing emergency gallbladder removal. The surgical complication rate rises with the time lag before surgery, the researchers say.

“It makes a big difference if you get the right treatment at the right time,” says co-lead author Juliane Bingener-Casey, M.D., a gastroenterologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The study is published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

Often it’s obvious who needs emergency gallbladder removal, a procedure known as cholecystectomy, who can delay it and who doesn’t need surgery at all. But sometimes patients fall into a gray area. Mayo researchers are working to develop a reliable tool to help determine the best course of action in those cases, and the newly published study is a first step, Dr. Bingener-Casey says.

How to handle gallstone patients is a cost and quality issue in health care. In the United States, 1 in 10 women and 1 in 15 men have gallstones, and more than 1 million people a year are hospitalized for gallstone disease. The fatty food common in U.S. diets is a contributing factor, Dr. Bingener-Casey says.

To read the full article, go to http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/emergency-gallbladder-surgery-do-you-need-it-or-can-you-afford-to-wait. Also, to view an interview with Dr. Bingener-Casey, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggR7W9giscA.

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