An acute condition in which the gall bladder becomes inflamed and swollen because flow of bile into duodenum is blocked by Gallstones; result is biliary colic – intense pain in upper right abdomen or between shoulders, Indigestion, especially after fatty food, and Nausea with or without vomiting; untreated, condition can lead to Jaundice and occasionally, if gall bladder bursts, to Peritonitis. If site of pain is as described above, and pain persists for more than 3 hours, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours.
- Ischemia (decrease blood supply to gallbladder)
- Secondary Infections
- Often starts after a large fatty meal
- Sudden, steady pain in the middle or right upper abdomen
- Medical History
- Clinical examination
- Abdominal X-ray
Course of illness
If untreated cholecystitis may lead to
- Gangrene in the gallbladder may occur. This is a severe infection with destruction of tissue. Diabetics and the elderly are at highest risk.
- Cholangitis – infection that occurs in common bile duct outside the gallbladder
- Bowel rest (no food or drink)
- Intravenous fluid/feeding
- Antibiotics to combat Infections. I.V. antibiotics may be used.
- Pain medications
- Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, Surgical removal of the gallbladder 2-3 days after cholecystitis for most patients
What you should do?
Go to the Hospital emergency or call the local emergency number (such as 000, for Australia) if you have symptoms that may indicate peritonitis, as it is a medical emergency.