An acute condition in which the gallbladder becomes inflamed and swollen because the flow of bile into the duodenum is blocked by gallstones is biliary colic – intense pain in the upper right abdomen or between shoulders, indigestion (especially after fatty food), and nausea (with or without vomiting). If left untreated, the condition can lead to jaundice and occasionally, if the gallbladder bursts, to peritonitis. If the site of pain is as described above, and pain persists for more than 3 hours, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours.


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


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


  • 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 the destruction of tissue. – Diabetics and the elderly are at highest risk
  • Cholangitis – an infection that occurs in common bile duct outside the gallbladder


  • 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 you should do?

Go to the Hospital emergency or call the local emergency number if you have symptoms that may indicate peritonitis, as it is a medical emergency.

At Kansas Surgical Consultants our talented providers believe that Patient Care is the top priority