'Hot gall bladder service' by emergency general surgeons: Is this safe and feasible?
Journal of minimal access surgery
Background: Despite NICE/AUGIS recommendations, the practice of early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (ELC) has been particularly poor in the UK offered only by 11%-20% surgeons as compared to 33%-67% internationally, possibly due to financial constraints, logistical difficulties and shortage of expertise, thus, reflecting the varied provision of emergency general surgical care. To assess whether emergency general surgeons (EGS) could provide a 'Hot Gall Bladder Service' (HGS) with an acceptable outcome. Patients and Methods: This was a prospective HGS observational study that was protocol driven with strict inclusion/exclusion criteria and secure online data collection in a district general hospital between July 2018 and June 2019. A weekly dedicated theatre slot was allocated for this list. Results: Of the 143 referred for HGS, 86 (60%) underwent ELC which included 60 (70%) women. Age, ASA and body mass index was 54* (18-85) years, II* (I-III) and 27* (20-54), respectively. 86 included 46 (53%), 19 (22%), 19 (22%) and 2 (3%) patients presenting with acute calculus cholecystitis, gallstone pancreatitis, biliary colic, and acalculus cholecystitis, respectively. 85 (99%) underwent LC with a single conversion. Grade of surgical difficulty, duration of surgery and post-operative stay was 2* (1-4) 68* (30-240) min and 0* (0-13) day, respectively. Eight (9%) required senior surgical input with no intra-operative complications and 2 (2%) 30-day readmissions. One was post-operative subhepatic collection that recovered uneventfully and the second was pancreatitis, imaging was clear requiring no further intervention. Conclusion: In the current climate of NHS financial crunch, COVID pandemic and significant pressure on inpatient beds: Safe and cost-effective HGS can be provided by the EGS with input from upper GI/HPB surgeons (when required) with acceptable morbidity and a satisfactory outcome. *Median.