The impact of open cholecystectomy on patients' symptoms and health status and their level of satisfaction has been examined to provide a basis for comparison with newer rival treatments. A prospective cohort study using patient and surgeon completed questionnaires before and six weeks after surgery was carried out in 14 general hospitals in eight European countries. Five hundred and eighty three patients were recruited consecutively in 1990 to 1991. Information on their symptoms, general health status, activities of daily living, and satisfaction with their care were collected. After surgery 42.8% of patients reported that they were free of symptoms. Symptoms varied in their responsiveness to surgery--six weeks after surgery 89% of those who had complained of vomiting had improved, 81% of nausea, 69% of loss of appetite, 65% of abdominal pain, and 51% of flatulence. In contrast 28.1% of patients still suffered from flatulence and 23.5% continued to complain of abdominal pain. Most patients' (62.7%) general health improved, 28% were unchanged, and 9.3% were worse. After surgery most patients reported no restrictions in their normal social activities (75-90% depending on the activity) and most (89.5%) felt the results of their operation had been as expected or better than expected. Most patients undergoing open cholecystectomy reported an improvement in their symptoms, health status, and social functioning. This was reflected in their high level of satisfaction. Some patients, however, gained no benefit and a small proportion were worse than before surgery.
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