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Utility of liver function tests in acute cholecystitis
Ann Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg 2019 Aug;23(3):219-27
Published online August 31, 2019;
Copyright © 2019 Korean Association of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery.

Hady Zgheib1, Cynthia Wakil1, Sami Shayya1, Aurelie Mailhac2, Muhyeddine Al-Taki3, Mazen El Sayed1,4, and Hani Tamim2,5

1Department of Emergency Medicine, 2Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Research Institute, 3Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, 4Emergency Medical Services and Prehospital Care Program, 5Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Received January 10, 2019; Revised April 4, 2019; Accepted April 20, 2019.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Backgrounds/Aims: Common bile duct stones (CBDS) affect the management of acute cholecystitis (AC). This study aims to investigate the utility of liver function tests (LFTs) in predicting the presence of CBDS in AC patients.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of adult patients with AC found in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database from 2008 to 2016. Patients were classified into two groups, without CBDS (AC) and with CBDS (AC+). LFT results namely total bilirubin, SGOT and ALP were collected and categorized into normal and abnormal with the cut-offs of 1.2 mg/dl for total bilirubin, 40 U/L for SGOT and 120 IU/L for ALP. Measures of diagnostic accuracy for individual and combinations of LFTs were computed.
Results: A total of 32,839 patients were included in the study, with 8,801 (26.8%) AC+ and 24,038 (73.2%) AC patients. Their mean age was 52.4 (±18.6) years and over half (59.1%) were females. Mean LFT results were significantly higher in the AC+ group for total bilirubin (1.82 vs 0.97), SGOT (110.9 vs 53.3) and ALP (164.4 vs 102.3) (<0.0001). The proportions of abnomal LFTs were significantly higher in the AC+ group for total bilirubin (47.7% vs 20.2%), SGOT (62.8% vs 27.1%) and ALP (56.6% vs 21.0%) (<0.0001). Among AC+, the odds of having abnormal results for bilirubin, SGOT and ALP were found to be 3.61, 4.54 and 4.90 times higher than among AC, respectively.
Conclusions: Abnormal LFTs are strong predictors for the presence of CBDS in patients with AC. Normal LFTs should be interpreted with caution as some patients with AC and CBDS might not present with characteristic abnormalities in results.
Keywords : Acute cholecystitis; Common bile duct stone; Liver function test; Predictive value; Screening test


August 2019, 23 (3)