• Ultrasound-guided percutaneous transhepatic cholecystostomy was performed in six critically ill patients who had acute acalculous cholecystitis. The clinical conditions of all six patients improved dramatically following transhepatic cholecystostomy. No complications of this bedside procedure occurred. Cholangiography via the inserted pigtail catheter was normal in four patients. Their catheters were removed after ten to 21 days. At follow-up examinations at four to 30 months they were free of signs of gallbladder disease. In one patient, ultrasonography showed desquamation of the mucosa in the gallbladder, which led to the decision to perform cholecystectomy two days after cholecystostomy. One patient, suffering from cholangiocarcinoma, died 120 days after cholecystostomy with the catheter in situ. In our experience, ultrasound-guided percutaneous transhepatic cholecystostomy is the treatment of choice to overcome a critical period in patients with acute acalculous cholecystitis. When post-drainage cholangiography is normal, cholecystectomy at a later stage is not indicated in the majority of these patients.
(Arch Surg 1985;120:1354-1356)