Cholecystectomy is the most commonly performed procedure in sickle cell disease (SCD) patients, but outcomes after cholecystectomy have not been well studied. Our aim was to explore the characteristics and outcomes of cholecystectomy in patients with SCD compared with patients without SCD, and assess whether acuity of presentation played a role.
Patients younger than age 35, with the primary diagnosis of gallbladder disease, who underwent cholecystectomy, were identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2005 to 2014). Patients were grouped into treatment groups by sickle cell status and acuity of surgery. Patient demographics, length of stay, hospital charges, and complications were evaluated. Descriptive and multivariate regression analyses were performed to compare these groups.
There were 149,415 patients analyzed; 1,225 (0.82%) had SCD. SCD was associated with higher complication rates (2.69% vs 1.12%), longer lengths of stay (3 days vs 2 days), and higher median hospital charge ($29,170 vs $25,438) (all p < 0.01). Stratified by level of acuity, comparing the SCD group with the non-SCD group, higher complication rates were seen in the acute presentation group (3.92% vs 1.00%, p < 0.01), but were not demonstrated in the elective group (0.98% vs 1.95%, p = 0.114).
SCD patients appear to have a longer length of stay, higher hospital spending, and increased complication rates compared with non-SCD patients undergoing cholecystectomy. This difference is pronounced among patients who underwent surgery in the acute setting. The data suggest that planned cholecystectomy may be beneficial in improving postoperative outcomes in SCD patients.