2020 World Society of Emergency Surgery updated guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute calculus cholecystitis

Michele Pisano, Niccolò Allievi, Kurinchi Gurusamy, Giuseppe Borzellino, Stefania Cimbanassi, Djamila Boerna, Federico Coccolini, Andrea Tufo, Marcello Di Martino, Jeffrey Leung, Massimo Sartelli, Marco Ceresoli, Ronald V. Maier, Elia Poiasina, Nicola De Angelis, Stefano Magnone, Paola Fugazzola, Ciro Paolillo, Raul Coimbra, Salomone Di SaverioBelinda De Simone, Dieter G. Weber, Boris E. Sakakushev, Alessandro Lucianetti, Andrew W. Kirkpatrick, Gustavo P. Fraga, Imitaz Wani, Walter L. Biffl, Osvaldo Chiara, Fikri Abu-Zidan, Ernest E. Moore, Ari Leppäniemi, Yoram Kluger, Fausto Catena, Luca Ansaloni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Acute calculus cholecystitis (ACC) has a high incidence in the general population. The presence of several areas of uncertainty, along with the availability of new evidence, prompted the current update of the 2016 WSES (World Society of Emergency Surgery) Guidelines on ACC. Materials and methods: The WSES president appointed four members as a scientific secretariat, four members as an organization committee and four members as a scientific committee, choosing them from the expert affiliates of WSES. Relevant key questions were constructed, and the task force produced drafts of each section based on the best scientific evidence from PubMed and EMBASE Library; recommendations were developed in order to answer these key questions. The quality of evidence and strength of recommendations were reviewed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria (see https://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/). All the statements were presented, discussed and voted upon during the Consensus Conference at the 6th World Congress of the World Society of Emergency Surgery held in Nijmegen (NL) in May 2019. A revised version of the statements was voted upon via an online questionnaire until consensus was reached. Results: The pivotal role of surgery is confirmed, including in high-risk patients. When compared with the WSES 2016 guidelines, the role of gallbladder drainage is reduced, despite the considerable technical improvements available. Early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (ELC) should be the standard of care whenever possible, even in subgroups of patients who are considered fragile, such as the elderly; those with cardiac disease, renal disease and cirrhosis; or those who are generally at high risk for surgery. Subtotal cholecystectomy is safe and represents a valuable option in cases of difficult gallbladder removal. Conclusions, knowledge gaps and research recommendations: ELC has a central role in the management of patients with ACC. The value of surgical treatment for high-risk patients should lead to a distinction between high-risk patients and patients who are not suitable for surgery. Further evidence on the role of clinical judgement and the use of clinical scores as adjunctive tools to guide treatment of high-risk patients and patients who are not suitable for surgery is required. The development of local policies for safe laparoscopic cholecystectomy is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalWorld Journal of Emergency Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Antibiotics
  • Early and delayed cholecystectomy
  • Gallbladder Drainage
  • Guidelines
  • High-risk patients
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine


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