Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the Gall Bladder. This usually occurs when the cystic duct of the bladder gets blocked by a gallstone. The cystic duct conveys the bile from the gall bladder where it is stored, to the intestines for digesting fatty foods. The blockage caused by the gall stone prevents free flow of bile, causing a surplus in the liver.
While cholecystitis is typically accompanied by severe abdominal pain and followed by fever, there are two types of cholecystitis – chronic or acute, and a rare form called acalculous cholecystitis.
An attack usually last for 2 to 3 days, with other symptoms too disappearing within a week. After the first attack, there may be a gap with no pain. But repeated episodes occur, with greater severity, each time.
The repeated attacks damage the gall bladder, scarring the walls and making them thick, resulting in the gall bladder becoming smaller. The white blood cell count may also rise. Sometimes the normal contractions of the intestines may stop. This indicates gangrene, or abscess (formation of pus) or a perforated gall bladder, all of which are life-threatening conditions.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Ultrasonography and Cholescintigraphy are useful in diagnosing the problem, along with laparoscope probes.
Patients with Cholecystitis need to be hospitalized. In some cases, treatment with antibiotics suffices, but usually the gall bladder is removed by laparoscopic surgery.