Published online Mar 28, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i12.1365
Revised: July 14, 2011
Accepted: July 21, 2011
Published online: March 28, 2012
AIM: To classify gallstone disease as a basis for assessment of post-cholecystectomy symptoms.
METHODS: One hundred and fifty three patients with a clinical and ultrasonographic diagnosis of gallstones filled out a structured questionnaire on abdominal pain symptoms and functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) before and at six months after cholecystectomy. Symptom frequency groups (SFG) were categorized according to frequency of pain attacks. According to certain pain characteristics in gallstone patients, a gallstone symptom score was accorded on a scale from one to ten. A visual analogue scale was used to quantify pain. Operative specimens were examined for size and magnitude of stone contents as well as presence of bacteria. Follow-up took place after six months with either a consultation or via a mailed questionnaire. Results were compared with those obtained pre-operatively to describe and analyze symptomatic outcome.
RESULTS: SFG groups were categorized as severe (24.2%), moderate (38.6%), and mild (22.2%) attack frequency, and a chronic pain condition (15%). Pain was cured or improved in about 90% of patients and two-thirds of patients obtained complete symptom relief. Patients with the most frequent pain episodes were less likely to obtain symptom relief. FGID was present in 88% of patients pre-operatively and in 57% post-operatively (P = 0.244). Those that became asymptomatic or improved with regard to pain also had most relief from FGID (P = 0.001). No pre-operative FGID meant almost complete cure.
CONCLUSION: Only one third of patients with FGID experienced postoperative relief, indicating that FGID was a dominant cause of post-cholecystectomy symptoms.