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Cholecystitis
(GS004)

Introduction


The gallbladder is a four-inch sac that is located beneath the liver in the upper right-hand quadrant of the abdomen. It is connected to the liver and the intestine by a series of small tubes called ducts. The primary role of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is produced and secreted continuously by the liver, until the bile is needed to aid in digestion.

Cholecystitis is a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder that causes severe abdominal pain. In 90% of cases, acute cholecystitis is caused by the presence of gallstones obstructing the duct leading from the gallbladder. It may also be caused by trauma or previous surgeries. Although relatively uncommon, gallstones and acute cholecystitis may occur in infants and children.

Ninety percent of cholecystitis cases resolve spontaneously. However, complications will develop in 10% of cases that will require surgery, antibiotics or other treatments. Pain management is an important aspect of care for gallbladder disorders. Nonsurgical treatment may consist of placement of a tube in the stomach to decompress the pressure in the abdomen as well as replacement of fluids and electrolytes through an intravenous line.

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