Original Article

Cholecystectomy for Biliary Dyskinesia in Gastroparesis: Mimic or Misfortune?

Authors: Salman Nusrat, MD, Sultan Mahmood, MD, Donald Kastens, MD, Klaus Bielefeldt, MD, PhD


Objectives: Biliary dyskinesia and gastroparesis are associated with upper abdominal discomfort and dyspeptic symptoms in the absence of structural abnormalities. We hypothesized that the similarity in symptoms would trigger testing and surgical treatment for biliary abnormalities in a significant number of patients, with refractory symptoms ultimately demonstrating impairment of gastric function.

Methods: The study was designed as a retrospective review of patients seen between April 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. Patients were identified using diagnosis code for gastroparesis (International Classification of Diseases , Ninth Revision code 536.3). Demographic information, duration, etiology and severity of disease, coexisting psychiatric illness, pain and functional gastrointestinal disorders, medication use, and abdominal surgery with a focus on cholecystectomy were abstracted from the medical records.

Results: A total of 131 patients were identified. Women predominated (77.86%), and the idiopathic form of gastroparesis was the most common etiology. A total of 59 (45%) patients had undergone cholecystectomies. Although symptomatic cholelithiasis was the primary indication, more than one-third of these patients underwent surgery for biliary dyskinesia (n = 19) or chronic acalculous cholecystitis (n = 2). In this subgroup, improvement was either absent (n = 13) or transient only (n = 8), lasting for 1.0 ± 0.6 months. Patients who underwent cholecystectomy were younger compared with the rest of the group; all other variables did not show significant differences.

Conclusions: Considering the overlap and correlation between gastric and gallbladder function, we should raise the threshold for biliary dyskinesia and reassess the appropriateness of surgical therapy, especially in patients with coexisting dyspeptic symptoms.

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