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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is cholecystitis diagnosed?

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  • 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 (infection of the gallbladder) typically causes patients to experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, a high temperature and a tender abdomen. Most patients have gallstones and these may have been diagnosed previously.The diagnosis of cholecystitis is based on a history of these symptoms. When your surgeon examines you, there will be severe tenderness over the right side of the abdomen, under the ribs. The appropriate tests are blood tests (which will show raised infection markers, and occasionally abnormal liver function tests) and an ultrasound which will show the inflammation around the gallbladder in conjunction with gallstones.The correct treatment for this condition is removal of the gallbladder and gallstones with a laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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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

    Acute cholecystitis is diagnosed by a combination of:

    1. Hisotry of right sided abdominal pain. This may radiate to the back and may be associated with nausea and vomiting. Usually starts after a fatty meal.

    2. Blood tests may show raised markers of inflammation such as CRP and white cell count. Occasionally the liver function tests may be abnormal if there is a gallstone that has moved into the common bile duct

    3. Ultrasound scan will most likely show a thick walled gallbladder, gallstones and fluid around the gallbladder

    4. CT scan may show a thick walled gallbladder but is less sensitive for showing gallstones as most are not radioopaque.

    5. A HIDA scan can be performed if the diagnosis is in doubt. It is a functional test of the gallbladder. It is a very sensitive test for acute cholecystitis but rarely needs to be performed.

     

    Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, depending on various factors including the number of days from when the attack started, general health of the patient and presence or abscence of stones in the common bile duct, further treatment can be advised.

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