The researchers compared quality of life after cholecystectomy and after successful lithotripsy for gallbladder stones, and published their findings in July's European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
A total of 18 consecutive patients, who had been rendered stone free in 1992 in the authors' unit, were enrolled in the study. All had not shown recurrence until their selection.
For comparison, 18 individually matched (sex, age, body mass index, and number of gallbladder stones) controls were selected. These were patients who underwent unsuccessful extra-corporeal shock-wave lithotripsy at the same time, eventually undergoing cholecystectomy.
All 36 patients answered a validated questionnaire (the Gastro Intestinal Quality of Life Index [GIQLI]) on quality of life, focusing on digestive complaints.
The overall GIQLI scores for both groups were good.
| Lithotripsy group had fewer dyspeptic complaints than the cholecystectomy group.
| European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology |
Out of a maximum of 144 points, the extra-corporeal shock-wave lithotripsy group obtained a median of 128 points. This compared to a median of 124 points for the cholecystectomy group.
The slight advantage of the extra-corporeal shock-wave lithotripsy group was not found to be significant.
However, the lithotripsy group scored significantly better in the 8 questions regarding dyspeptic complaints, mainly in the items regarding nausea and need for dietary restriction.
The authors found that there were no significant differences in the questions regarding symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, bowel complaints, or general well being.
Professor Luís Carrilho-Ribeiro, of the University Hospital of Santa Maria, Lisbon, concluded on behalf of the group, "The quality of life after either cholecystectomy or extra-corporeal shock-wave lithotripsy is good overall.
"However, cholecystectomy might be associated with a higher rate of dyspeptic complaints than a gallbladder preserving treatment like extra-corporeal shock-wave lithotripsy."