Gallbladder Cryoablation for Chronic Cholecystitis in High-Risk Surgical Patients: 1-Year Clinical Experience with Imaging Follow-up

Hugh McGregor, Gregory Woodhead, Mikin Patel, Abdul Khan, Jack Hannallah, David Ruiz, Miles Conrad, Andrew Tang, Charles Hennemeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the short-term safety and efficacy of gallbladder cryoablation in high-risk patients. Materials and Methods: A single-center, retrospective review of clinical and imaging follow-up from patients who were referred for gallbladder cryoablation between August 2018 and July 2019 was performed. All patients had serious pre-procedural comorbidities and were unacceptable surgical candidates (mean age, 52.5 years; mean American Society of Anesthesiologists score, 3.67). Primary efficacy measures included technical success, absence of symptoms after cholecystostomy tube removal, and imaging evidence of cystic duct obstruction and gallbladder involution. The primary safety measure was the absence of Society of Interventional Radiology moderate or greater adverse events. Results: Technical success was 86%, with 1 of 7 patients unable to undergo cryoablation because of adhesions preventing hydrodissection of the colon away from the gallbladder. Mean duration of clinical follow-up after discharge was 278 days (range, 59–498 days). Abdominal pain was absent in all patients after ablation. Cholecystostomy tubes were removed immediately after ablation (n = 5) or on post-procedure day 11 (n = 1). Computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging was obtained at 1–3 months (n = 6), 4–6 months (n = 4), and 6–12 months (n = 5) after the procedure and demonstrated gallbladder involution in 5 of 6 patients. One patient had asymptomatic distention of the gallbladder on follow-up imaging. Hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scans were completed in 5 of 6 patients 1 month after ablation and demonstrated cystic duct occlusion in all 5 patients. One moderate adverse event (infection) and 1 life-threatening adverse event (hemorrhage) occurred. Conclusions: Gallbladder cryoablation might be a viable treatment option for high-risk patients with gallbladder disease and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-807
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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