Acute Cholecystitis: An Emerging Complication in Spinal Cord Injury Patients in the United States

Ariella Gartenberg, Adam Nessim, Woojin Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a significant medical condition associated with various secondary complications, including cholelithiasis. Cholelithiasis can cause biliary duct obstruction and result in acute cholecystitis. The development of acute cholecystitis in SCI patients has been well studied in the Taiwanese population, showing an increased risk of acute cholecystitis in patients with SCI. The development of cholecystitis has not been well studied in the United States. Materials and Methods A retrospective review was performed on 3,939 propensity score-matched patients aged 18 to 85 years who had SCI/surgery from 2000 to 2019. Patients were divided based on the development of postoperative complications, specifically cholecystitis with cholecystectomy. Results SCI consisted of quadriplegia (42%), paraplegia (53%), unspecified lesion of cervical spinal cord (3%), and thoracic spinal cord (2%). All groups were comparable regarding age, gender, body mass index, smoking status, and Charlson comorbidity Index. The incidence of acute cholecystitis with subsequent cholecystectomy among patients with SCI was 43.0 per 10,000 person-years (95% confidence interval: 41.51-44.49). Median follow-up was 36 months. The development of cholecystitis was comparable among females (54.5%) and males (45.5%), and among African Americans (52.5%) and Caucasians (47.5%). Conclusion There is an association between SCI and development of acute cholecystitis among U.S. patients. As SCI patients do not present with the classic signs of biliary colic, risk assessment for the development of acute cholecystitis will guide patient management and allow neurosurgeons to weigh the risks and benefits of prophylactic treatment for gallbladder complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-480
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Neurological Surgery, Part A: Central European Neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • acute cholecystitis
  • prophylactic treatment
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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