Berenson A, Doran M, Strollo B, Burton J, Townsend M, Babin J, Millien J, Brown R, Fuhrman G
Background Percutaneous cholecystostomy tube (PCT) drainage is an effective management strategy for acute cholecystitis in patients medically unfit for surgery. However, little is known about the fate of patients managed by PCT. We conducted this study to determine tube management outcomes for patients with acute cholecystitis managed by PCT. Methods The electronic record was queried to identify patients with acute cholecystitis managed by PCT from 2012-2020. Patients were divided into three groups for analysis: 1) ultimately managed by cholecystectomy, 2) eventual confirmation of distal flow of bile from the gallbladder and tube removal, and 3) tubes left in place without further management. Results A total of 179 patients with acute cholecystitis treated by PCT were included. Sixty-six patients never fully recovered from the medical insult associated with their diagnosis of acute cholecystitis and had their tubes left in situ. Sixty-four of these 66 patients (97%) died during follow-up. The remaining 113 patients recovered from their illness and presented to clinic for evaluation for tube removal and/or cholecystectomy. When distal biliary flow was confirmed, tube removal was favored (n = 70). When cystic duct outflow occlusion persisted, cholecystectomy was planned for patients who became acceptable surgical candidates (n = 43). For patients managed by cholecystectomy, 8 were approached open and 35 laparoscopically, with 12 of 35 (34.3%) converted to open and 23 (65.7%) completed laparoscopically. Conclusion Our study favors PCT removal for patients who recover from their acute illness when distal bile flow from the gallbladder is confirmed. We reserve cholecystectomy for patients who recover from their illness and demonstrate persistent cystic duct outflow obstruction.