Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder, a small organ placed right beneath the liver. The gallbladder represents the reservoir of the bile and every time we need bile for digestion of fats this tiny organ contracts and the bile enters the duodenum via specific duct.
Emphysematous cholecystitis is an inflammation of gallbladder caused by bacteria. This is rather rare and quite severe form of cholecystitis. The name emphysematous is related to the fact that the presence of bacteria in the gallbladder results in formation of gas. This gas can be easily noticed by certain imaging methods.
This medical condition affects only 1% of all people suffering from cholecystitis which makes it rather rare.
Causes of Emphysematous Cholecystitis
Certain predisposing conditions may influence and induce the onset of emphysematous cholecystitis.
Gallstones are, for example, only one cause of emphysematous cholecystitis. Up to 80% of patients who are diagnosed with emphysematous cholecystitis also suffer from gallstones. The problem related to the presence of gallstones is their potential and eventual movement and blockage of the cystic duct. This blockage consequently leads to inflammation of the gallbladder and may even cause some serious complications.
Furthermore, emphysematous cholecystitis may be induced by uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. People suffering from diabetes are more susceptible to infections hence they can develop even this type of inflammation easily. It has been reported that emphysematous cholecystitis affects approximately 30-54% of patients who have diabetes.
And finally, emphysematous cholecystitis can be caused by inadequate blood supply of the gallbladder. Insufficient blood supply consequently leads to insufficient supply with oxygen and lack of oxygen can cause multiplication of certain bacteria.
Symptoms of Emphysematous Cholecystitis
Symptoms of emphysematous cholecystitis are basically the same as in other type of cholecystitis. The patients commonly complain about abdominal discomfort or pain. In the beginning, the pain is located in the upper abdomen while in time it may radiate towards the right shoulder or to the back. It varies in intensity. Nausea is an additional symptom and it usually occurs after eating certain kind of food such as cabbage, chocolate, yolks etc.
Treatment for Emphysematous Cholecystitis
The pain can be alleviated by certain painkillers. Since the underlying cause of emphysematous cholecystitis is bacterial infection, patients are commonly prescribed antibiotics. This therapy can work for only small number of patients and is a temporary solution. Emphysematous cholecystitis is recurrent disease and it eventually requires surgical treatment. Surgical removal of gallbladder also known as cholecystectomy can be performed either laparoscopically or as an open surgery.