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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 patient education and treatment being sought early on when symptoms arise.
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 a 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 the 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.
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:
There are two different types of acute cholecystitis:
The most common symptoms of acute cholecystitis are:
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:
There are risk factors that increase a person's chances of developing acute cholecystitis, such as:
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:
Other conditions that can trigger the onset of acute cholecystitis are:
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:
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:
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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