Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Carcinoma Of The Gallbladder At The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital – A 5-Year Retrospective Study

GU Chianakwana, PIS Okafor, SNC Anyanwu


Background: Carcinoma of the gallbladder is often missed because of the low index of suspicion.
Aims and Objectives: To review the incidence, pattern and outcome of carcinoma of the gallbladder in our center and to highlight the need for early diagnosis.
Design: Retrospective survey of all cases of carcinoma of the gallbladder.
Setting: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital serving rural, semi-urban and urban communities.
Patients and Methods: Patients who had histologically confirmed carcinoma in the general surgical units of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital over a 5-year period were reviewed and, from their case notes, the following information on sex, age, mode of presentation, time of diagnosis, stage of disease, treatment given and outcome were extracted.
Results: Twenty-one cases of gallbladder carcinoma were seen out of a total of 692 cases of different types of cancers seen in the general surgical units, giving an incidence of 3.04%. Six were males and 15 were females, age ranged between 39 and 72 years, a mean of 55; with the peak age in the 7th decade of life. Eleven patients (5.24%) presented with features of chronic cholecystitis and had cholecystectomy. Ten patients presented with obstructive jaundice in a stage too advanced for any form of palliative surgical treatment The outcome was good in patients who presented with features of cholecystitis but who turned out to be cases of early carcinoma of the gallbladder because after five years of follow-up, none of them has shown any features of recurrence. There was no mortality in this group and the patients have remained in good health. However, the prognosis was poor in those patients who presented with obstructive jaundice. They remained very ill, with worsening general condition. They were discharged home on request of their relations and were lost to follow-up.
Conclusions: Carcinoma of the gallbladder may present as cholecystitis. It is advisable for clinicians to have this in mind before, during and after cholecystectomy. Early presentation to hospital by patients would avert delay and improve early diagnosis, early treatment, and better outcome.

Key Words: Carcinoma, gallbladder, Nigeria

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol 8(1) 2005: 10-13

AJOL African Journals Online