Central California Surgery - Board Certified General Surgeons

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Infections & Inflammations

An infection is the condition of multiplication of parasitic organisms or microorganisms within the body. An inflammation is the reactions that occur in the affected blood vessels and adjacent tissues in response to an injury or abnormal stimulation caused by a physical, chemical, or biologic agent. Many people use the terms interchangeably since they have several symptoms in common and usually are treated similarly.

Appendicitis :: Pancreatitis :: Hepatitis :: Cholecystitis
Esophagitis :: Peritonitis

Cholecystitis

An acute condition in which the gall bladder becomes inflamed and swollen because flow of bile into duodenum is blocked by Gallstones. The result is biliary colic: intense pain in upper right abdomen or between shoulders, indigestion, especially after fatty food, and nausea with or without vomiting. Left untreated, condition can lead to jaundice and occasionally, if gall bladder bursts, to a serious infection called Peritonitis. If site of pain is as described above, and pain persists for more than 3 hours, consult your doctor if there is no improvement after 2 more hours.

Causes

  • Gallstones
  • Ischemia (decrease blood supply to gallbladder)
  • Secondary Infections

Symptoms

  • Often starts after a large fatty meal
  • Sudden, steady pain in the middle or right upper abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Diagnoses

  • Medical History
  • Clinical examination
  • Abdominal X-ray
  • Ultrasound

Course of illness

If untreated cholecystitis may lead to

  • Gangrene in the gallbladder may occur. This is a severe infection with destruction of tissue. Diabetics and the elderly are at highest risk
  • Cholangitis-- infection that occurs in common bile duct outside the gallbladder

Treatment

  • Bowel rest (no food or drink)
  • Intravenous fluid/feeding
  • Antibiotics to combat Infections. I.V. antibiotics may be used
  • Pain medications
  • Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, Surgical removal of the gallbladder 2-3 days after cholecystitis for most patients

What Should You Do?

Go to the Hospital emergency room or call 911 if you have symptoms that may indicate peritonitis, as this is a medical emergency.

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