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Disease: Cholecystitis Cholecystitis
Category: Digestive diseases
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Disease Definition:

Inflammation of the gallbladder, the small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of the abdomen right beneath the liver, is referred to as cholecystitis. Digestive fluid (bile) that is released into the small intestine is held by the gallbladder.

Gallstones that block the tube leading out of the gallbladder are the cause of many cases of cholecystitis, which in turn causes a buildup of bile that can cause inflammation. Tumors, injury and infection are other causes of cholecystitis.

Infection that spreads to other parts of the body, tissue damage and tears in the gallbladder are among the serious complications that untreated cholecystitis may cause. However, cholecystitis requires a hospital stay once it is diagnosed. Gallbladder removal is often the treatment for cholecystitis.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Here are the signs and symptoms of cholecystitis:


  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Tenderness over the abdomen when it's touched
  • Pain that radiates from the abdomen to the right shoulder or back
  • Severe, steady pain in the upper right part of the abdomen that, if left untreated, may last several hours or days and gets worse when breathing deeply

After a meal, a large meal or a meal high in fat in particular, cholecystitis signs and symptoms usually occur.
One should immediately call the doctor when having any of the signs and symptoms of cholecystitis. This condition requires hospitalization in general. It can lead to serious, sometimes even life-threatening complications when it is left without treatment, even though cholecystitis itself isn't a medical emergency.


After eating, especially after one eats high-fat foods, the gallbladder releases the fluid that it holds, which is called bile. Through a small tube called the cystic duct, bile travels out of the gallbladder to another tube called the common bile duct, and then into the small intestine. When the gallbladdaer becomes inflamed, chlolcystitis occurs.
Cholecystitis may develop slowly over time (chronic cholecystitis), or it may occur suddenly (acute cholecystitis).

Here are the causes of cholecystitis:

Cholecystitis may be caused by bile buildup, which in turn may occur when a tumor prevents bile from draining out of the gallbladder properly.

Cholecystitis may be caused by injury to the gallbladder, especially an injury that occurs as the outcome of surgery or trauma to the abdomen.

Causing the bile to build up and resulting in gallbladder inflammation, gallstones that block the cystic duct are the cause of most cases of cholecystitis.

An inflammation of the gallbladder may be caused by an infection within the bile.

The risk of developing cholecystitis may increase because of:


  • The complications of diabetes, which may lead to gallbladder damage.
  • In the weeks after giving birth, the possibility of doveloping cholycystits increases due to damage to the gallbladder, which might be caused by prolonged labor.



Here are the complications that may be caused by cholecystitis:

Tissue death:
The gallbladder may burst or it might tear out because of the death of tissue in the gallbladder (gangrene), which in turn may be caused by untreated cholecystitis.

Gallbladder distention:
Pain and a high risk of tear (perforation) in the gallbladder, in addition to an infection and tissue death, may be caused when the gallbladder swells and stretches more than its normal size (hydrops), which may happen when the gallbladder becomes inflamed as a result of bile buildup.

Cholesystitis may cause gallbladder gangrene or distention, which in turn may cause a tear (perforation) in the gallbladder.

The bile can become infected (empyema) when it builds up within the gallbladder, causing cholecystitis. The infection may spread to the blood or other parts of the body when a tear in the gallbladder occurs as a result of the infection.


A person diagnosed with cholecystitis will be admitted to the hospital, where he/she may be given liquids through an intravenous (IV) line, and may not be allowed to drink or eat. Antibiotics to fight infection and pain relief medication may also be recommended.

Cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder):
Gallbladder removal is required in most cases of cholecystitis, because of the frequent reoccurance of this condition.
Immediate surgery may be necessary when having complications of cholecystitis, such as a gangrene or perforation of the gallbladder. in the case of having an infection, it can be drained by placing a temporary tube trough the skin into the gallbladder.
The patient’s condition determines the timing of cholecystectomy, whether it's within several days or a few weeks, in case the patient doesn’t have complications.
Using a tiny video camera to see inside the abdomen and special surgical tools to remove the gallbladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy), are usually involved in a usual cholecystectomy. The surgeon watches a monitor while guiding the tools during surgery, which are placed along with a camera through four incisions in the abdomen.
Bile flows directly from the liver into the small intestine once the gallbladder is removed, instead of being stored in the gallbladder. Although removing the gallbladder may cause diarrhea, the patient’s ability to digest food stays unaffected, which means that the gallbladder is not really needed to live.


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