Recurrence of idiopathic acute pancreatitis after cholecystectomy: systematic review and meta-analysis

D. S. Umans, N. D. Hallensleben, R. C. Verdonk, S. A. W. Bouwense, P. Fockens, H. C. van Santvoort, R. P. Voermans, M. G. Besselink, M. J. Bruno, J. E. van Hooft*, Dutch Pancreatitis Study Grp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

20 Citations (Web of Science)


Background Occult biliary disease has been suggested as a frequent underlying cause of idiopathic acute pancreatitis (IAP). Cholecystectomy has been proposed as a strategy to prevent recurrent IAP. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the efficacy of cholecystectomy in reducing the risk of recurrent IAP. Methods PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library databases were searched systematically for studies including patients with IAP treated by cholecystectomy, with data on recurrence of pancreatitis. Studies published before 1980 or including chronic pancreatitis and case reports were excluded. The primary outcome was recurrence rate. Quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Meta-analyses were undertaken to calculate risk ratios using a random-effects model with the inverse-variance method. Results Overall, ten studies were included, of which nine were used in pooled analyses. The study population consisted of 524 patients with 126 cholecystectomies. Of these 524 patients, 154 (29 center dot 4 (95 per cent c.i. 25 center dot 5 to 33 center dot 3) per cent) had recurrent disease. The recurrence rate was significantly lower after cholecystectomy than after conservative management (14 of 126 (11 center dot 1 per cent) versus 140 of 398 (35 center dot 2 per cent); risk ratio 0 center dot 44, 95 per cent c.i. 0 center dot 27 to 0 center dot 71). Even in patients in whom IAP was diagnosed after more extensive diagnostic testing, including endoscopic ultrasonography or magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, the recurrence rate appeared to be lower after cholecystectomy (4 of 36 (11 per cent) versus 42 of 108 (38 center dot 9 per cent); risk ratio 0 center dot 41, 0 center dot 16 to 1 center dot 07). Conclusion Cholecystectomy after an episode of IAP reduces the risk of recurrent pancreatitis. This implies that current diagnostics are insufficient to exclude a biliary cause.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
Early online date25 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • BIAS
  • EUS

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