Get Treatment For Acute Cholecystitis

Great Surgical Care at Marina del Rey Hospital

Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Acute Cholecystitis Treatment?

At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our gastroenterologists are experienced at diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions, including acute cholecystitis. Additionally, our well-trained team of specialists provides patients with guidance and advice to make the best choices about their treatment.

Acute cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. The main function of the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ located beneath the liver, is to help with digestion by releasing bile into the small intestine. Acute cholecystitis most often develops as a result of an untreated biliary colic, a condition that occurs when gallstones migrate from the gallbladder to one of the bile ducts, causing a blockage and preventing the gallbladder from releasing bile. When the bile ducts are blocked for prolonged periods of time, the patient becomes more susceptible to developing acute cholecystitis.

Acute cholecystitis can become a medical emergency. Less severe cases of acute cholecystitis have fairly good prognoses if treatment is sought early. Thus, it is strongly recommended to seek medical attention right away if you feel that you may be suffering from this condition. Recent studies have found that acute cholecystitis has become less frequent as a result of patient education and treatment being sought early on when symptoms arise.

Surgical Procedures Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Acute Cholecystitis

Most patients who develop acute cholecystitis can be treated with medication. However, roughly 30% of patients who develop acute cholecystitis require surgical intervention. The gallbladder is not an essential organ. Thus, the surgical procedure for acute cholecystitis is cholecystectomy, the complete removal of the gallbladder. This surgery is generally performed after treatment to reduce some of the inflammation in the gallbladder. If the patient is suffering from severe complications such as emphysematous cholecystitis, perforation, empyema, or if the patient is not eligible for surgery, percutaneous drainage or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, also known as ERCP, may be required.

The most popular type of cholecystectomy performed by surgeons today is laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This procedure is considered extremely effective and has been known to have very few complications. Additionally, surgeons are also performing immediate laparoscopic cholecystectomies, which do not wait for the patient's inflammation to subside, thus shortening the patient’s hospital stay.

Drugs and Other Treatments Needed for Acute Cholecystitis

Generally, a patient who is suffering from acute cholecystitis is required to stay in the hospital to be closely monitored and administered necessary treatments based on the severity of the condition. Some of the most common non-surgical treatments used for acute cholecystitis are:

Antiemetics »
IV Fluids »
Analgesics »
Antibiotics »

There are two different types of acute cholecystitis:

Calculous cholecystitis »
Acalculous cholecystitis »

Symptoms of Acute Cholecystitis

The most common symptoms of acute cholecystitis are:

  • Sharp pain in the upper-right side of the abdomen
  • Pain that radiates towards the right shoulder
  • Pain when taking deep breaths
  • Abdominal pain that is persistent
  • Jaundice
  • Fever

Diagnosis of Acute Cholecystitis

Before diagnosing acute cholecystitis, your doctor will have to rule out a wide range of conditions such as cholangitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis, cholelithiasis, renal calculi, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, among others.

Some of the most frequently used tests and procedures used to rule out other possible conditions and diagnose acute cholecystitis are:

  • Blood tests: These tests can help your doctor determine whether you are suffering from an infection or not. Blood tests can also be helpful when trying to rule out other conditions.
  • Imaging tests: Some of the most effective imaging tests when it comes to diagnosing gallbladder conditions are CT scans, MRIs, and abdominal ultrasounds.
  • HIDA Scan: This scan, also known as hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan, is very useful as it shows the process of production and the movement of bile throughout the body. This scan requires an injection of a radioactive dye in order to make the bile circuit visible.

Risk Factors for Acute Cholecystitis

There are risk factors that increase a person's chances of developing acute cholecystitis, such as:

  • Pregnancy: Being pregnant is considered to be a risk factor for acute cholecystitis because pregnant women are more susceptible to developing gallstones.
  • Age: Elderly people are more likely to develop gallstones, which increases their chances of developing acute cholecystitis.
  • Obesity: Being obese has a negative impact on all of your organs and the gallbladder is no exception. People who are overweight or obese are more susceptible to gallstones and more likely to develop acute cholecystitis.
  • Sex: Women are more likely to develop gallstones, but men have been found to be more susceptible to developing acute cholecystitis.
  • Medications: Different medications have been found to increase a person’s risk of developing gallstones, for example, estrogen contraceptives, octreotide, and ceftriaxone.
  • Other conditions: Patients who are suffering from diabetes, HIV, vascular disease, hemolytic disease, or patients who are in intensive care are more likely to develop acalculous cholecystitis.

Causes of Acute Cholecystitis

Acute cholecystitis is a condition that is associated with the formation of gallbladder stones. The main causes that lead to the formation of gallstones are:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a genetic predisposition
  • Having an unhealthy lifestyle
  • Eating foods high in fat

Other conditions that can trigger the onset of acute cholecystitis are:

  • Infections in the bile duct
  • Bile duct obstructions
  • High cholesterol levels in the gallbladder
  • Insufficient blood flow in the gallbladder
  • Liver or pancreatic tumors
  • Gallbladder tumors

Acute cholecystitis is a serious condition that requires medical attention. Therefore, it is extremely important to ask for medical advice before trying any alternative treatments. That being said, in order to prevent acute cholecystitis, one must get rid of gallstones. There is a wide range of alternative treatments that focus on eliminating, dissolving, and preventing the formation of gallstones, or on preserving the overall health of the gallbladder, such as:

  • Healthy foods: Eating foods that are high in fibers, such as seeds, fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, or nuts, can help prevent the formation of gallstones. Foods that are rich in potassium, such as tomatoes, bananas, avocado, or sweet potato can also have a beneficial effect on the gallbladder. Additionally, there are certain foods that have a detoxifying effect and also improve the flow of bile, such as artichokes and beets. Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are good alternatives to other oils as they are easier to digest and are considered healthy fats that are beneficial for the liver and the gallbladder. Raw foods that are low in fat and salts, but high in fiber can also be beneficial, and sprouted seeds and nuts can have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Supplements: There are herbs, enzymes, and acids that can have beneficial effects on the gallbladder, such as milk thistle, ox bile, lipase, turmeric, rosemary oil, or dandelion root. These supplements can increase the flow of bile, have antioxidant properties, accelerate the absorption of fats, improve digestion, and reduce gallbladder inflammation.
  • Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese practice is thought to have a beneficial effect on a wide range of conditions. By inserting tiny needles into specific places on the body, this technique may improve the gallbladder function or relieve some of the symptoms associated with gallbladder diseases.

Although preventing acute cholecystitis is not always possible, there are certain lifestyle changes a person can make that can decrease their risk of developing gallbladder conditions, such as:

  • Diet: By avoiding fatty, salty, and processed foods, and by adopting a healthier, more balanced diet that is rich in proteins and fibers, you can greatly reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
  • Exercise: By being physically active and doing regular exercise you avoid becoming overweight, thus, lowering your risk of developing gallbladder conditions.
  • Avoid rapid weight-loss: Although it is recommended to lose weight in order to be healthier, you must avoid losing it too quickly, as this process might disrupt the normal functions of your gallbladder, thus increasing your risks of having gallbladder issues.

Do you suspect you might suffer from acute cholecystitis? You can always learn more about gallbladder conditions and how to treat them by getting in touch with our specialists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.

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