Cholecystitis (gallbladder infection)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Cholecystitis (gallbladder infection) (Disease)


Cholecystitis is the medical condition characterized by an inflammation of the gall bladder.

Signs and symptoms of cholecystitis may include: severe, steady pain in the upper right part of your abdomen; pain that radiates from your abdomen to your right shoulder or back; tenderness over your abdomen when its touched; sweating; nausea; vomiting; fever; chills; abdominal bloating. More severe symptoms such as high fever, shock and jaundice indicate the development of complications such as abscess formation, perforation or ascending cholangitis.

Causes and Risk factors

In most cases, cholecystitis is caused by gallstones that block the tube leading out of your gallbladder. An increase of bile occurs, leading to an inflammation. Other causes of cholecystitis are bile duct problems and tumors. Less commonly, in debilitated and trauma patients, the gallbladder may become inflamed and infected in the absence of cholelithiasis, and is known as acute acalculous cholecystitis. Gallstones occur more often in women than men and become more common with age.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is made in physical exam and after tests including blood tests (amylase and lipase; bilirubin, complete blood count, liver function tests) and medical imaging (abdominal ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, abdominal x-ray, oral cholecystogram, gallbladder radionuclide scan).

For most patients diagnosed with acute cholecystitis, the definitive treatment is surgical removal of the gallbladder, cholecystectomy. Nonsurgical treatment includes: antibiotics to fight infection, low-fat diet (when food can be tolerated) and pain medicines. ...

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