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Cholangitis is an inflammatory condition, which as the cholelithiasis, impedes the flow of bile from the liver to the small intestine.
The bile duct is a structure whose task is to collect the juices from the pancreas, gall bladder and liver, which supports the digestive process, and at the same time reduces the acidity of the food that leaves the stomach. Cholangitis may severely hinder the natural processes of the body.
The causes of cholangitis
Cholangitis can be resulting from many factors, such as gallstones or certain medical procedures that affect the functioning of the bile duct.
Among other reasons of cholangitis there may be mentioned:
- bacterial infection,
- the blockage caused by one or more gallstones in the bile duct
- the obstruction resulting from medical intervention,
- cancers that are affecting the work of the bile duct.
- medical history of previously treated gallstones,
- sclerosing cholangitis – the state in which the dividends damage to the bile ducts,
- HIV – the virus that reduces resistance,
- unusually narrow bile ducts, which may be a congenital defect.
Cholangitis is a serious threat to the health and even the life of the patient unless it is correctly diagnosed and treated early. The disease most often affects people 50-60 years of age.
The symptoms of cholangitis
The main symptoms of cholangitis are:
- abdominal pain in the upper right abdomen,
- high fever and chills,
- earthenware hue of faeces,
- a dark shade of urine,
- nausea and vomiting,
- jaundice (yellow color is revealed to the skin and eyeballs).
Symptoms of pain may be intermittent, but can also spread toward the back. Pain can be mild, but also extreme – all depending on the degree of severity of the disease.
Diagnosis and treatment of cholangitis
Since the symptoms of the disease can suggest a wide variety of disease conditions, which affect the bile duct, it is necessary to perform several tests that will determine the cause of the symptoms. Among the fundamental research performed during diagnosis of problems with biliary include:
- Ultrasound, which allows assessing whether we are not dealing with gallstones,
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
- MRCP (magnetic resonance imaging retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
- blood tests – complete blood count (especially the number of white blood cells, which determine if we are dealing with infection), bilirubin, liver enzymes and functional assays.
Treatment of inflammation of the bile ducts should be taken as soon as possible because the disease can cause complications that may aggravate the patient’s condition. The pain and discomfort experienced by a person with cholangitis may become more severe.
Most often, the treatment uses antibiotics to help fight the infection that occurs in the bile ducts. There are cases where it is necessary to perform surgery or invasive procedures ERCP.
Among the complications of the disease can occur sepsis, which may cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure and organ dysfunction. The lack of immediate response in case of sepsis may result in the death of the patient. Crucial it is the quick response when you get acute cholangitis.