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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the symptoms of cholecystitis?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Michael Hii

    Bariatric (Obesity) Surgeon, Upper GI Surgeon (Abdominal)

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    Mr Michael Hii is an Upper Gastro Intestinal surgeon, who specializes in diseases of the oesophagus, stomach and adrenal glands. Mr Hii completed training in ... View Profile

    Cholecystitis generally refers to a bacterial infection of the gallbladder.This usually occurs in patients who have gallstones. Gallstones can intermittently obstruct the outlet of the gallbladder causing an inflammation, which if unresolved, becomes a bacterial infection. This is treated with antibiotics and typically removal of the diseased organ.Symptoms of cholecystitis include abdominal pain which persists and worsens over several hours (on the right side of the abdomen, under the ribs), pain which can radiate into the back, nausea and vomiting, a high temperature and “cold sweats”. These symptoms are quite uncomfortable with cholecysitis and worsen over several hours.If you have these symptoms you should seek urgent medical advice from your local doctor, or at your local emergency department.

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  • Dr Anubhav Mittal

    Upper GI Surgeon (Abdominal)

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    Dr. Mittal specializes in gallbladder, hernia, pancreatic, biliary and liver surgery. He is a specialist hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon and a conjoint Senior Lecturer in ... View Profile

    Cholecystitis can be acute or chronic and is generally caused by gallstones or gallbladder sludge.  

    Acute cholecystitis history at home:

    1. Starts after a fatty meal 

    2. Is felt as right sided pain which is constant but its intensity increases and decreases in waves (colic)

    3. Can go through to the back or the right shoulder

    4. May be associated with nausea and vomiting

    In the hospital:

    1. Blood tests may show a high white count and inflammatory marker (CRP)

    2. Liver enzymes may be elevated if a gallstone has fallen into the common bile duct

    3. Ultrasound scan may show a thickened gallbladder wall and some fluid around the gallbladder (pericholecystic fluid)

    Chronic cholecystits can be harder to diagnose but typically presents as vague central or right sided abdominal pain which may be associated with a fatty meal.  Some people may report atypical biliary symptoms.  It is best in this setting to see your specialist and get an ultrasound scan and/or a HIDA scan. The HIDA scan is a fantastic test for picking up chronic cholecystitis.

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