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Management of symptomatic cholelithiasis: a systematic review.

Shenoy R, Kirkland P, Hadaya JE, Tranfield MW, DeVirgilio M, Russell MM, Maggard-Gibbons M. Management of symptomatic cholelithiasis: a systematic review. Systematic reviews. 2022 Dec 12; 11(1):267.

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BACKGROUND: Symptomatic cholelithiasis is a common surgical disease and accounts for half of the over one million cholecystectomies performed in the USA annually. Despite its prevalence, only one prior systematic review has examined the evidence around treatment strategies and it contained a narrow scope. The goal of this systematic review was to analyze the clinical effectiveness of treatment options for symptomatic cholelithiasis, including surgery, non-surgical therapies, and ED pain management strategies. METHODS: Literature search was performed from January 2000 through June 2020, and a narrative analysis was performed as studies were heterogeneous. RESULTS: We identified 12 publications reporting on 10 trials (9 randomized controlled trials and 1 observational study) comparing treatment methods. The studies assessed surgery, observation, lithotripsy, ursodeoxycholic acid, electro-acupuncture, and pain-management strategies in the emergency department. Only one compared surgery to observation. CONCLUSION: This work presents the existing data and underscores the current gap in knowledge regarding treatment for patients with symptomatic cholelithiasis. We use these results to suggest how future trials may guide comparisons between the timing of surgery and watchful waiting to create a set of standardized guidelines. Providing appropriate and timely treatment for symptomatic cholelithiasis is important to streamline care for a costly and prevalent disease. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO Protocol Number: CRD42020153153.

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