• Many patients have undergone successful cardiac transplantation. These patients are at risk of developing the same surgical diseases as the general population. The side effects of immunotherapy may mandate intervention at a different point in the natural history of these processes. From February 1984 through December 1989, 24 patients underwent an operative biliary tract procedure following cardiac transplantation. Seventeen patients underwent elective cholecystectomy with intraoperative cholangiography. The mean hospital stay was 5.4 days, and there was no morbidity or mortality. Seven patients underwent urgent procedures; four of them developed severe complications and three died as a result of their biliary tract disease. Two patients in the urgent group had previously exhibited symptoms of biliary tract disease, and five were previously asymptomatic. There was no significant difference in time from transplantation to biliary procedure between the elective group (mean, 17 months; range, 3 weeks to 47 months) and the urgent group (mean, 18 months; range, 3 weeks to 44 months). Patients who undergo cardiac transplantation should be screened for cholelithiasis. The presence of symptoms should not be required before recommending operative intervention.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:571-573)