Acute cholangitis (AC) is a disease spectrum with varying extent of severity. Age ≥ 75 years forms part of the criteria for moderate (Grade II) severity in both the Tokyo Guidelines (TG13 and TG18). Aging is associated with reduced physiological reserves, frailty, and sarcopenia. However, there is evidence that age itself is not the determinant of inferior outcomes in elective and emergency biliary diseases. There is a paucity of reports comparing clinical outcomes amongst elderly patients non-elderly patients with AC.
To investigate the effect of age (≥ 80 years) on AC’s morbidity and mortality using propensity score matching (PSM).
This is a single-center retrospective cohort study of all patients diagnosed with calculous AC (January 2016 to December 2016) and ≥ 80 years old (January 2012 to December 2016) at a tertiary university-affiliated teaching hospital. Inclusion criteria were patients who were treated for suspected or confirmed AC secondary to biliary stones. Patients with AC on a background of hepatobiliary malignancy, indwelling permanent metallic biliary stents, or concomitant pancreatitis were excluded. Elderly patients were defined as ≥ 80 years old in our study. A 1:1 PSM analysis was performed to reduce selection bias and address confounding factors. Study variables include comorbidities, vital parameters, laboratory and radiological investigations, and type of biliary decompression, including the time for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Primary outcomes include in-hospital mortality, 30-d and 90-d mortality. Length of hospital stay (LOS) was the secondary outcome.
Four hundred fifty-seven patients with AC were included in this study (318 elderly, 139 non-elderly). PSM analysis resulted in a total of 224 patients (112 elderly, 112 non-elderly). The adoption of ERCP between elderly and non-elderly was similar in both the unmatched (elderly 64.8%, non-elderly 61.9%, = 0.551) and matched cohorts (elderly 68.8% and non-elderly 58%, = 0.096). The overall in-hospital mortality, 30-d mortality and 90-d mortality was 4.6%, 7.4% and 8.5% respectively, with no statistically significant differences between the elderly and non-elderly in both the unmatched and matched cohorts. LOS was longer in the unmatched cohort [elderly 8 d, interquartile range (IQR) 6-13, non-elderly 8 d, IQR 5-11, = 0.040], but was comparable in the matched cohort (elderly 7.5 d, IQR 5-11, non-elderly 8 d, IQR 5-11, = 0.982). Subgroup analysis of patients who underwent ERCP demonstrated the majority of the patients ( = 159/292, 54.5%) had delayed ERCP (> 72 h from presentation). There was no significant difference in LOS, 30-d mortality, 90-d mortality, and in-hospital mortality in patients who had delayed ERCP in both the unmatched and matched cohort (matched cohort: in-hospital mortality [ = 1/42 (2.4%) 1/26 (3.8%), = 0.728], 30-d mortality [ = 2/42 (4.8%) 2/26 (7.7%), = 0.618], 90-d mortality [ = 2/42 (4.8%) 2/26 (7.7%), = 0.618], and LOS (median 8.5 d, IQR 6-11.3, 8.5 d, IQR 6-15.3, = 0.929).
Mortality is indifferent in the elderly (≥ 80 years old) and non-elderly patients (< 80 years old) with AC.

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