Cholecystitis is defined as an inflammation of the gallbladder wall. It usually follows the obstruction of the cystic duct by a gallstone. Several factors are responsible, a gallstone being the most common, usually formed by the agglutination of saturated cholesterol crystals in the bile. Cholecystitis may also be due to a chronic, intermittent or partial obstruction of the cystic duct that causes the thickening of the walls of the gallbladder. Note that acute cholecystitis may also be due to ischemia of the gallbladder wall in about 1 in 10 cases.
The symptoms for acute gallstone cholecystitis are:
- abdominal pain located in the right or on the upper part of the abdomen,
- a pain that increases with increased heart rate;
- fever and chills;
- loss of appetite;
- nausea and / or vomiting.
Chronic cholecystitis is usually asymptomatic.
The doctor may perform a blood test looking for liver disorders and see if there is a change in inflammatory markers. A radiograph of the abdomen can be performed in order to reveal the presence of gallstones, but they are not always visible. If symptoms are suggestive of the disorder, the only essential test is an ultrasound, which is the most effective and can show an increase in the walls of the gallbladder as well as an identification of the stones.
The treatment of choice for acute cholecystitis is surgery. Ablation of the gallbladder can be practiced: this is called a cholecystectomy. This surgery can be done quickly or in 48 hours if there are signs of severity. Meanwhile, antibiotics are administered. In chronic cholecystitis, a cholecystectomy is also sometimes practiced according to the clinical impact.
It is possible to prevent chronic cholecystitis with a healthy and balanced diet and controlled cholesterol.