How serious is acute cholecystitis?

Acute cholecystitis is a serious condition that can have potentially life-threatening complications if not treated promptly and properly. It is a type of inflammation of the gallbladder, a small organ located just below the liver that plays a crucial role in the digestion of fats.

The most common cause of acute cholecystitis is the presence of gallstones, which can obstruct the flow of bile and cause inflammation. Other potential causes include infections, tumors, and damage to the gallbladder due to trauma or surgery. Risk factors for acute cholecystitis include obesity, advanced age, and a history of gallstones.

The symptoms of acute cholecystitis typically include sudden and severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and bloating. In some cases, the pain may radiate to the back or the right shoulder. Physical examination may reveal tenderness in the upper right abdominal area, as well as other signs of infection such as a rapid heart rate and rapid breathing.

If left untreated, acute cholecystitis can lead to complications such as the rupture of the gallbladder, which can cause bile and other digestive juices to leak into the abdominal cavity and lead to peritonitis, a potentially life-threatening infection. It can also lead to the formation of gallbladder abscesses, which are pockets of infected fluid that can cause further damage to the surrounding tissues.

Treatment of acute cholecystitis typically involves antibiotics to clear the infection, as well as pain medication to control the symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the gallbladder or to address any complications that have developed.

Overall, acute cholecystitis is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. By recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment, it is possible to manage the condition and prevent complications.