|Acute cholecystitis as seen on CT. Note the fat stranding around the enlarged gallbladder.|
|Specialty||General surgery, gastroenterology|
|Symptoms||Right upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever|
|Duration||Short term or long term|
|Causes||Gallstones, severe illness|
|Risk factors||Birth control pills, pregnancy, family history, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, rapid weight loss|
|Diagnostic method||Abdominal ultrasound|
|Differential diagnosis||Hepatitis, peptic ulcer disease, pancreatitis, pneumonia, angina|
|Treatment||Gallbladder removal surgery, gallbladder drainage|
|Prognosis||Generally good with treatment|
Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder.Symptoms include right upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally fever. Often gallbladder attacks (biliary colic) precede acute cholecystitis. The pain lasts longer in cholecystitis than in a typical gallbladder attack. Without appropriate treatment, recurrent episodes of cholecystitis are common. Complications of acute cholecystitis include gallstone pancreatitis, common bile duct stones, or inflammation of the common bile duct.
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.
In vertebrates, the gallbladder is a small hollow organ where bile is stored and concentrated before it is released into the small intestine. In humans, the pear-shaped gallbladder lies beneath the liver, although the structure and position of the gallbladder can vary significantly among animal species. It receives and stores bile, produced by the liver, via the common hepatic duct and releases it via the common bile duct into the duodenum, where the bile helps in the digestion of fats.
Abdominal pain, also known as a stomach ache, is a symptom associated with both non-serious and serious medical issues.
More than 90% of the time acute cholecystitis is from blockage of the cystic duct by a gallstone.Risk factors for gallstones include birth control pills, pregnancy, a family history of gallstones, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, or rapid weight loss. Occasionally acute cholecystitis occur as a result of vasculitis, chemotherapy, or during recovery from major trauma or burns. Cholecystitis is suspected based on symptoms and laboratory testing. Abdominal ultrasound is then typically used to confirm the diagnosis.
The cystic duct is the short duct that joins the gallbladder to the common bile duct. It usually lies next to the cystic artery. It is of variable length. It contains 'spiral valves of Heister', which do not provide much resistance to the flow of bile.
A gallstone is a stone formed within the gallbladder out of bile components. The term cholelithiasis may refer to the presence of gallstones or to the diseases caused by gallstones. Most people with gallstones never have symptoms. When a gallstone blocks the bile duct, a cramp-like pain in the right upper part of the abdomen, known as biliary colic can result. This happens in 1–4% of those with gallstones each year. Complications of gallstones may include inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), jaundice, and infection of a bile duct (cholangitis). Symptoms of these complications may include pain of more than five hours duration, fever, yellowish skin, vomiting, dark urine, and pale stools.
The combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), often referred to as the birth control pill or colloquially as "the pill", is a type of birth control that is designed to be taken orally by women. It includes a combination of an estrogen and a progestogen. When taken correctly, it alters the menstrual cycle to eliminate ovulation and prevent pregnancy.
Treatment is usually with laparoscopic gallbladder removal, within 24 hours if possible.Taking pictures of the bile ducts during the surgery is recommended. The routine use of antibiotics is controversial. They are recommended if surgery cannot occur in a timely manner or if the case is complicated. Stones in the common bile duct can be removed before surgery by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or during surgery. Complications from surgery are rare. In people unable to have surgery, gallbladder drainage may be tried.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a technique that combines the use of endoscopy and fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat certain problems of the biliary or pancreatic ductal systems. Through the endoscope, the physician can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum, and inject a contrast medium into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas so they can be seen on radiographs.
About 10–15% of adults in the developed world have gallstones.Women more commonly have stones than men and they occur more commonly after age 40. Certain ethnic groups are more often affected; for example, 48% of American Indians have gallstones. Of all people with stones, 1–4% have biliary colic each year. If untreated, about 20% of people with biliary colic develop acute cholecystitis. Once the gallbladder is removed outcomes are generally good. Without treatment, chronic cholecystitis may occur. The word is from Greek, cholecyst- meaning "gallbladder" and -itis meaning "inflammation".
An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry or on similarities such as common language or dialect, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is often used synonymously with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from but related to the concept of races.
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii and territories of the United States. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaskan Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Most people with gallstones do not have symptoms.When a gallstone lodges in the cystic duct, they experience biliary colic. Biliary colic is abdominal pain in the right upper quadrant or epigastric region. It is episodic, occurs after eating greasy or fatty foods, and leads to nausea and/or vomiting. People who suffer from cholecystitis most commonly have symptoms of biliary colic before developing cholecystitis. The pain becomes more severe and constant in cholecystitis. Nausea is common and vomiting occurs in 75% of people with cholecystitis. In addition to abdominal pain, right shoulder pain can be present.
Biliary colic, also known as a gallbladder attack or gallstone attack, is when a colic occurs due to a gallstone temporarily blocking the cystic duct. Typically, the pain is in the right upper part of the abdomen. Pain usually lasts from 15 minutes to a few hours. Often, it occurs after eating a heavy meal, or during the night. Repeated attacks are common.
On physical examination, fever is common.A gallbladder with cholecystitis is almost always tender to touch. Because of the inflammation, its size can be felt from the outside of the body in 25–50% of people with cholecystitis. Pain with deep inspiration leading to termination of the breath while pressing on the right upper quadrant of the abdomen usually causes pain (Murphy's sign). Murphy's sign is sensitive, but not specific for cholecystitis. Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) may occur but is often mild. Severe jaundice suggests another cause of symptoms such as choledocholithiasis. People who are old, have diabetes, chronic illness, or who are immunocompromised may have vague symptoms that may not include fever or localized tenderness.
In medicine, Murphysign refers to a maneuver during a physical examination as part of the abdominal examination. It is similar, but not the same as the sonographic Murphy sign. It is useful for differentiating pain in the right upper quadrant. Typically, it is positive in cholecystitis, but negative in choledocholithiasis, pyelonephritis, and ascending cholangitis.
Jaundice, also known as icterus, is a yellowish or greenish pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes due to high bilirubin levels. It is commonly associated with itchiness. The feces may be pale and the urine dark. Jaundice in babies occurs in over half in the first week following birth and does not pose a serious threat in most. If bilirubin levels in babies are very high for too long, a type of brain damage, known as kernicterus, may occur.
Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly known as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications can include diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, or death. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.
A number of complications may occur from cholecystitis if not detected early or properly treated. Signs of complications include high fever, shock and jaundice. Complications include the following:
Cholecystitis causes the gallbladder to become distended and firm. Distension can lead to decreased blood flow to the gallbladder, causing tissue death and eventually gangrene.Once tissue has died, the gallbladder is at greatly increased risk of rupture (perforation). Rupture can also occur in cases of chronic cholecystitis. Rupture is a rare but serious complication that leads to abscess formation or peritonitis. Massive rupture of the gallbladder has a mortality rate of 30%.
Untreated cholecystitis can lead to worsened inflammation and infected bile that can lead to a collection of pus surrounding the gallbladder, also known as empyema.The symptoms of empyema are similar to uncomplicated choleystitis but greater severity: high fever, severe abdominal pain, more severely elevated white blood count.
The inflammation of cholecystitis can lead to adhesions between the gallbladder and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly the duodenum.These adhesions can lead to the formation of direct connections between the gallbladder and gastrointestinal tract, called fistulas. With these direct connections, gallstones can pass from the gallbladder to the intestines. Gallstones can get trapped in the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly at the connection between the small and large intestines (ileocecal valve). When a gallstone gets trapped, it can lead to an intestinal obstruction, called gallstone ileus, leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and abdominal distension.
Cholecystitis occurs when the gallbladder becomes inflamed.Gallstones are the most common cause of gallbladder inflammation but it can also occur due to blockage from a tumor or scarring of the bile duct. The greatest risk factor for cholecystitis is gallstones. Risk factors for gallstones include female sex, increasing age, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, obesity, diabetes mellitus, ethnicity (Native North American), rapid weight loss.
Gallstones blocking the flow of bile account for 90% of cases of cholecystitis (acute calculous cholecystitis).Blockage of bile flow leads to thickening and buildup of bile causing an enlarged, red, and tense gallbladder. The gallbladder is initially sterile but often becomes infected by bacteria, predominantly E. coli , Klebsiella , Streptococcus , and Clostridium species. Inflammation can spread to the outer covering of the gallbladder and surrounding structures such as the diaphragm, causing referred right shoulder pain.
In acalculous cholecystitis, no stone is in the biliary ducts.It accounts for 5–10% of all cases of cholecystitis and is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. Acalculous cholecystitis is typically seen in people who are hospitalized and critically ill. Males are more likely to develop acute cholecystitis following surgery in the absence of trauma. It is associated with many causes including vasculitis, chemotherapy, major trauma or burns.
The presentation of acalculous cholecystitis is similar to calculous cholecystitis.Patients are more likely to have yellowing of the skin (jaundice) than in calculous cholecystitis. Ultrasonography or computed tomography often shows an immobile, enlarged gallbladder. Treatment involves immediate antibiotics and cholecystectomy within 24–72 hours.
Chronic cholecystitis occurs after repeated episodes of acute cholecystitis and is almost always due to gallstones.Chronic cholecystitis may be asymptomatic, may present as a more severe case of acute cholecystitis, or may lead to a number of complications such as gangrene, perforation, or fistula formation.
Xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis (XGC) is a rare form of chronic cholecystitis which mimics gallbladder cancer although it is not cancerous.It was first reported in the medical literature in 1976 by McCoy and colleagues.
Blockage of the cystic duct by a gallstone causes a buildup of bile in the gallbladder and increased pressure within the gallbladder. Concentrated bile, pressure, and sometimes bacterial infection irritate and damage the gallbladder wall, causing inflammation and swelling of the gallbladder.Inflammation and swelling of the gallbladder can reduce normal blood flow to areas of the gallbladder, which can lead to cell death due to inadequate oxygen.
The diagnosis of cholecystitis is suggested by the history (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever) and physical examinations in addition to laboratory and ultrasonographic testing. Boas's sign which is pain in the area below the right scapula, can be a symptom of acute cholecystitis.
In someone suspected of having cholecystitis, blood tests are performed for markers of inflammation (e.g. complete blood count, C-reactive protein), as well as bilirubin levels in order to assess for bile duct blockage. mg/dL). If bilirubin levels are more significantly elevated, alternate or additional diagnoses should be considered such as gallstone blocking the common bile duct (common bile duct stone). Less commonly, blood aminotransferases are elevated. The degree of elevation of these laboratory values may depend on the degree of inflammation of the gallbladder.Complete blood count typically shows an increased white blood count (12,000–15,000/mcL). C-reactive protein is usually elevated although not commonly measured in the United States. Bilirubin levels are often mildly elevated (1–4
Right upper quadrant abdominal ultrasound is most commonly used to diagnose cholecystitis. mm), dilation of the bile duct, and sonographic Murphy's sign. Given its higher sensitivity, hepatic iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan can be used if ultrasound is not diagnostic. CT scan may also be used if complications such as perforation or gangrene are suspected.Ultrasound findings suggestive of acute cholecystitis include gallstones, pericholecystic fluid (fluid surrounding the gallbladder), gallbladder wall thickening (wall thickness over 3
Many other diagnoses can have similar symptoms as cholecystitis. Additionally the symptoms of chronic cholecystitis are commonly vague and can be mistaken for other diseases. These alternative diagnoses include but are not limited to:
For most people with acute cholecystitis, the treatment of choice is surgical removal of the gallbladder, laparoscopic cholecystectomy.Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed using several small incisions located at various points across the abdomen. Several studies have demonstrated the superiority of laparoscopic cholecystectomy when compared to open cholecystectomy (using a large incision in the right upper abdomen under the rib cage). People undergoing laparoscopic surgery report less incisional pain postoperatively as well as having fewer long term complications and less disability following the surgery. Additionally, laparoscopic surgery is associated with a lower rate of surgical site infection.
During the days prior to laparoscopic surgery, studies showed that outcomes were better following early removal of the gallbladder, preferably within the first week.Early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (within 7 days of visiting a doctor with symptoms) as compared to delayed treatment (more than 6 weeks) may result in shorter hospital stays and a decreased risk of requiring an emergency procedure. There is no difference in terms of negative outcomes including bile duct injury or conversion to open cholecystectomy. For early cholecystectomy, the most common reason for conversion to open surgery is inflammation that hides Calot's triangle. For delayed surgery, the most common reason was fibrotic adhesions.
Supportive measures may be instituted prior to surgery. These measures include fluid resuscitation. Intravenous opioids can be used for pain control.
Antibiotics are often not needed.If used they should target enteric organisms (e.g. Enterobacteriaceae), such as E. coli and Bacteroides . This may consist of a broad spectrum antibiotic; such as piperacillin-tazobactam, ampicillin-sulbactam, ticarcillin-clavulanate (Timentin), a third generation cephalosporin (e.g.ceftriaxone) or a quinolone antibiotic (such as ciprofloxacin) and anaerobic bacteria coverage, such as metronidazole. For penicillin allergic people, aztreonam or a quinolone with metronidazole may be used.
In cases of severe inflammation, shock, or if the person has higher risk for general anesthesia (required for cholecystectomy), an interventional radiologist may insert a percutaneous drainage catheter into the gallbladder ('percutaneous cholecystostomy tube') and treat the person with antibiotics until the acute inflammation resolves. A cholecystectomy may then be warranted if the person's condition improves.
Homeopathic approaches to treating cholecystitis have not been validated by evidence and should not be used in place of surgery.
Cholecystitis accounts for 3–10% of cases of abdominal pain worldwide.Cholecystitis caused an estimated 651,829 emergency department visits and 389,180 hospital admissions in the US in 2012. The 2012 US mortality rate was 0.7 per 100,000 people. The frequency of cholecysitis is highest in people age 50–69 years old.
Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Cholecystectomy is a common treatment of symptomatic gallstones and other gallbladder conditions. In 2011, cholecystectomy was the 8th most common operating room procedure performed in hospitals in the United States. Cholecystectomy can be performed either laparoscopically, using a video camera, or via an open surgical technique.
Mirizzi's syndrome is a rare complication in which a gallstone becomes impacted in the cystic duct or neck of the gallbladder causing compression of the common hepatic duct, resulting in obstruction and jaundice. The obstructive jaundice can be caused by direct extrinsic compression by the stone or from fibrosis caused by chronic cholecystitis (inflammation). A cholecystocholedochal fistula can occur.
Courvoisier's law states that in the presence of a palpable enlarged gallbladder which is non-tender and accompanied with mild painless jaundice, the cause is unlikely to be gallstones. Usually, the term is used to describe the physical examination finding of the right-upper quadrant of the abdomen. This sign implicates possible malignancy of the gallbladder or pancreas and the swelling is unlikely due to gallstones.
Gastrointestinal diseases refer to diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract, namely the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum, and the accessory organs of digestion, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Common bile duct stone, also known as choledocholithiasis, is the presence of gallstones in the common bile duct (CBD). This condition can cause jaundice and liver cell damage. Treatment is by cholecystectomy and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
Gallbladder cancer is a relatively uncommon cancer, with an incidence of fewer than 2 cases per 100,000 people per year in the United States. It is particularly common in central and South America, central and eastern Europe, Japan and northern India; it is also common in certain ethnic groups e.g. Native American Indians and Hispanics. If it is diagnosed early enough, it can be cured by removing the gallbladder, part of the liver and associated lymph nodes. Most often it is found after symptoms such as abdominal pain, jaundice and vomiting occur, and it has spread to other organs such as the liver.
Porcelain gallbladder is a calcification of the gallbladder believed to be brought on by excessive gallstones, although the exact cause is not clear. As with gallstone disease in general, this condition occurs predominantly in overweight female patients of middle age. It is a morphological variant of chronic cholecystitis. Inflammatory scarring of the wall, combined with dystrophic calcification within the wall transforms the gallbladder into a porcelain-like vessel. Removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the recommended treatment.
Ascending cholangitis, also known as acute cholangitis or simply cholangitis, is inflammation of the bile duct (cholangitis), usually caused by bacteria ascending from its junction with the duodenum. It tends to occur if the bile duct is already partially obstructed by gallstones.
Postcholecystectomy syndrome (PCS) describes the presence of abdominal symptoms two years after a cholecystectomy.
Choledochal cysts are congenital conditions involving cystic dilatation of bile ducts. They are uncommon in western countries but not as rare in East Asian nations like Japan and China.
Cholescintigraphy or hepatobiliary scintigraphy is scintigraphy of the hepatobiliary tract, including the gallbladder and bile ducts. The image produced by this type of medical imaging, called a cholescintigram, is also known by other names depending on which radiotracer is used, such as HIDA scan, PIPIDA scan, DISIDA scan, or BrIDA scan. Cholescintigraphic scanning is a nuclear medicine procedure to evaluate the health and function of the gallbladder and biliary system. A radioactive tracer is injected through any accessible vein and then allowed to circulate to the liver, where it is excreted into the bile ducts and stored by the gallbladder until released into the duodenum.
Gallbladder polyps are growths or lesions resembling growths in the wall of the gallbladder. True polyps are abnormal accumulations of mucous membrane tissue that would normally be shed by the body. The main types of polypoid growths of the gallbladder include cholesterol polyp/cholesterosis, cholesterosis with fibrous dysplasia of gallbladder, adenomyomatosis, hyperplastic cholecystosis, and adenocarcinoma.
Biliary dyskinesia is a disorder of some component of biliary part of the digestive system in which bile physically can not move normally in the proper direction through the tubular biliary tract. It most commonly involves abnormal biliary tract peristalsis muscular coordination within the gallbladder in response to dietary stimulation of that organ to squirt the liquid bile through the common bile duct into the duodenum. Ineffective peristaltic contraction of that structure produces postprandial right upper abdominal pain (cholecystodynia) and almost no other problem. When the dyskinesia is localized at the biliary outlet into the duodenum just as increased tonus of that outlet sphincter of Oddi, the backed-up bile can cause pancreatic injury with abdominal pain more toward the upper left side. In general, biliary dyskinesia is the disturbance in the coordination of peristaltic contraction of the biliary ducts, and/or reduction in the speed of emptying of the biliary tree into the duodenum.
Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction refers to a group of functional disorders leading to abdominal pain due to dysfunction of the Sphincter of Oddi: functional biliary sphincter of Oddi and functional pancreatic sphincter of Oddi disorder. The sphincter of Oddi is a sphincter muscle, a circular band of muscle at the bottom of the biliary tree which controls the flow of pancreatic juices and bile into the second part of the duodenum. The pathogenesis of this condition is recognized to encompass stenosis or dyskinesia of the sphincter of Oddi ; consequently the terms biliary dyskinesia, papillary stenosis, and postcholecystectomy syndrome have all been used to describe this condition. Both stenosis and dyskinesia can obstruct flow through the sphincter of Oddi and can therefore cause retention of bile in the biliary tree and pancreatic juice in the pancreatic duct.
Biliary sludge refers to a viscous mixture of small particles derived from bile. These sediments consist of cholesterol crystals, calcium salts, calcium bilirubinate, mucin, and other materials.
Biloma is collection of bile within the abdominal cavity. It happens when there is a bile leak, for example after surgery for removing the gallbladder, with an incidence of 0.3–2%. Other causes are biliary surgery, liver biopsy, abdominal trauma, and, rarely, spontaneous perforation.
Canine gallbladder mucocele (GBM) is an emerging biliary disease in dogs described as the excessive and abnormal accumulation of thick, gelatinous mucus in the lumen, which results in an enlarged gallbladder. GBMs have been diagnosed more frequently in comparison to prior to the 2000s when it was considered rare. The mucus is usually pale yellow to dark green in appearance.