ACUTE CHOLECYSTITIS - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms


Acute cholecystitis is a gallbladder inflammation. It often occurs when a gallstone obstructs the cystic duct, which is the main entrance of the gallbladder. When this occurs, the bile will build up in the cystic duct, which in turn causes sharp and severe pain in the stomach.

Gallstones are small stones that originate in the gallbladder and usually form from cholesterol. Gallstones are very prominent, affecting around one in ten people in the UK. Furthermore, they rarely develop symptoms. However, they may sometimes induce biliary colic or acute cholecystitis.

Because of the possibility of complications, acute cholecystitis is potentially dangerous. It is typically treated with antibiotics, intravenous fluids, and rest in a hospital.

Types & Symptoms


The three main types of acute cholecystitis include:

  • Gangrenous
  • Suppurative
  • Catarrhal


Cholecystitis may cause the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort that spreads to your right shoulder
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Severe pain in the upper right or center of the abdomen
  • Abdomen that’s tender upon touch


If your symptoms point to acute cholecystitis, your doctor will send you to the hospital at once for further treatment and tests. To diagnose cholecystitis, your doctor may suggest the following procedures and tests:

  • Blood tests. Your doctor will order blood tests to search for infections or gallbladder signs and problems.
  • Ultrasound scan. It may be used to look for gallstones or other symptoms of a gallbladder problem.

Other scans, including an MRI scan, CT scan, or X-ray, may be performed to check your gallbladder in further detail if your diagnosis is questionable.


Cholecystitis is frequently treated with a hospital stay to reduce the inflammation in your gallbladder during the procedure. Occasionally, surgery is required.

Your doctor will keep your symptoms and signs under control while in the hospital. Treatments may include the following:

  • Pain medications. These may help manage discomfort until the gallbladder inflammation subsides.
  • IV Drip. This treatment helps avoid dehydration.
  • Antibiotics to treat infection. If the gallbladder is damaged, your doctor will undoubtedly prescribe antibiotics.
  • Fasting. You cannot drink or eat at first to ease the pressure on your inflamed gallbladder.
  • Procedure to remove stones. Your specialist may perform endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP to remove any stones obstructing the bile or cystic duct.

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