Cholecystitis Empiric Therapy 

Updated: Dec 10, 2016
  • Author: David M Faleck, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
  • Print
Sections

Empiric Therapy Regimens

Empiric antibiotic regimens for cholecystitis are outlined below, divided by those for community-acquired acute cholecystitis as categorized by severity of illness, and healthcare–associated cholecystitis of any severity. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] Consideration of local antibiograms is highly suggested, where available.

Community-acquired acute cholecystitis

Disease of mild-to-moderate severity

Mild severity:Healthy patient, no organ dysfunction, mild inflammatory changes of gallbladder

Moderate severity:White blood cell (WBC) count above 18,000 cells/mm3, duration of symptoms longer than 72 hours, palpable tender mass in the right upper quadrant, marked local inflammation on imaging studies

Disease of high severity*

High severity: Patients with organ dysfunction or immunocompromised state 

*Consider the addition of vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h to the above regimens for enterococcal coverage.

**Due to the increasing resistance of E coli to fluoroquinolones, local susceptibility profiles should be reviewed before empiric use.

Healthcare–associated biliary infection of any severity

Pseudomonal and enterococcal coverage is recommended. Recommended regimens include:

  • Imipenem-cilastatin 250-500 mg IV q6-8h plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h or
  • Ertapenem 1 g IV daily plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h or
  • Meropenem 0.5-1 g IV q8h plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h or
  • Doripenem 500 mg IV q8h plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h or
  • Piperacillin-tazobactam 3.375 g IV q6h plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h or
  • Cefepime 2 g IV q8-12h  plus  metronidazole 500 mg IV q8h  plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h  or
  • Ciprofloxacin** 400 mg IV q12h plus  metronidazole 500 mg IV q8h plus  vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h or
  • Levofloxacin** 750 mg IV daily plus  metronidazole 500 mg IV q8h plus vancomycin 15-20 mg/kg IV q12h 

**Due to the increasing resistance of E coli to fluoroquinolones, local susceptibility profiles should be reviewed before empiric use.

Duration of therapy

The duration of empiric cholecystitis antibiotic therapy should be guided by severity and clinical improvement, as follows:

  • For mild cholecystitis, antibiotic therapy should be discontinued within 24 hours of cholecystectomy, unless there is evidence of infection extending outside of the gallbladder.
  • For moderate-severe cholecystitis, antibiotics should generally be limited to 4-7 days once the source of infection is controlled. Consider 14 days of antibiotics in cases of bacteremia with gram-positive bacteria known to cause infective endocarditis (eg, Enterococcus spp and Streptococcus spp)