Cholelithiasis

Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain in the right upper quadrant). The diagnosis is established by ultrasound. Management options include supportive care to prevent and control associated symptoms. When indicated, cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy: Approaches and Technique is the definitive treatment. Gallstones may lead to complications such as choledocholithiasis (a stone trapped in the common bile duct), cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis ( inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract), or cholangitis (biliary sepsis Sepsis Organ dysfunction resulting from a dysregulated systemic host response to infection separates sepsis from uncomplicated infection. The etiology is mainly bacterial and pneumonia is the most common known source. Patients commonly present with fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, hypotension, and/or altered mentation. Sepsis and Septic Shock). These conditions require urgent medical attention.

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Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

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Overview

Definition

Cholelithiasis is the presence of gallstones in the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract.

Epidemiology

  • Prevalence in the United States: 6% of men and 9% of women
  • Women > men (3:1), but this ratio decreases with age
  • Most commonly seen at > 40 years of age
  • Highest prevalence in Native Americans and Mexican Americans
Gallstones

Opened gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract with gallstones

Image: “Opened gall bladder containing numerous gallstones” by Emmanuelm. License: CC BY 3.0

Etiology

Cholesterol stones (80%)

  • Precipitates of mostly cholesterol with bile salts, calcium, and mucin
  • Risk factors:
    • Obesity Obesity Obesity is a condition associated with excess body weight, specifically with the deposition of excessive adipose tissue. Obesity is considered a global epidemic. Major influences come from the western diet and sedentary lifestyles, but the exact mechanisms likely include a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity
    • Rapid weight loss (often after bariatric surgery Bariatric surgery Bariatric surgery refers to a group of invasive procedures used to surgically reduce the size of the stomach to produce early satiety, decrease food intake (restrictive type) and/or alter digestion, and artificially induce malabsorption of nutrients (malabsorptive type). The ultimate goal of bariatric surgery is drastic weight loss. Bariatric Surgery)
    • Diabetes
    • Dyslipidemia
    • Genetic predisposition
    • Pregnancy Pregnancy Pregnancy is the time period between fertilization of an oocyte and delivery of a fetus approximately 9 months later. The 1st sign of pregnancy is typically a missed menstrual period, after which, pregnancy should be confirmed clinically based on a positive β-hCG test (typically a qualitative urine test) and pelvic ultrasound. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Maternal Physiology, and Routine Care (impaired gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract emptying caused by progesterone)
    • Medications (hormone therapy, oral contraceptives, ceftriaxone, fibrates, somatostatin analogs)
    • Prolonged fasting
    • Parenteral nutrition
    • Spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord injury

Pigment stones (10%)

  • Caused by excess bilirubin 
  • Black stones consist of mostly calcium bilirubinate.
  • Risk factors:
    • Cirrhosis Cirrhosis Cirrhosis is a late stage of hepatic parenchymal necrosis and scarring (fibrosis) most commonly due to hepatitis C infection and alcoholic liver disease. Patients may present with jaundice, ascites, and hepatosplenomegaly. Cirrhosis can also cause complications such as hepatic encephalopathy, portal hypertension, portal vein thrombosis, and hepatorenal syndrome. Cirrhosis
    • Crohn’s disease/ileal resection
    • Hemolytic anemias ( hereditary spherocytosis Hereditary Spherocytosis Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is the most common type of hereditary hemolytic anemia. The condition is caused by a cytoskeletal protein deficiency in the RBC membrane. This results in loss of membrane stability and deformability of the RBC, giving the cell its spherical shape (spherocyte). Hereditary Spherocytosis, thalassemias, sickle cell disease)
    • Advanced age

Brown stones (“mixed”; 10%)

  • Bacterial infection or parasitic infestation
  • Often form in bile ducts
  • Most common in Asian populations

Mnemonic

Risk factors for cholesterol stones: 4 Fs

  1. Fat
  2. Female
  3. Forties
  4. Fertile

Pathophysiology and Clinical Presentation

Pathophysiology

  • Cholesterol stones (3 mechanisms overlap):
    • Cholesterol supersaturation of bile
      • Hypersecretion of cholesterol (80% from dietary origin)
      • Decreased concentration of phospholipids and bile salts (that solubilize cholesterol) → cholesterol precipitation
    • Gallbladder hypomotility (stasis)
      • Associated with certain conditions: diabetes, pregnancy, parenteral nutrition
      • Cholesterol microcrystals are not flushed out effectively → gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract sludge
    • Nucleation
      • Mucin (secreted by biliary epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium) promotes crystallization of cholesterol in the sludge.
      • Gallstones form and grow larger, further promoted by gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract stasis.
  • Black pigment stones: 
    • Overproduction of bilirubin (hemolysis increases unconjugated bilirubin)
    • Decrease in hepatic cycling of bilirubin (cirrhosis)
  • Mixed/brown pigment stones: 
    • Related to infections (bacterial or parasitic infestation, e.g., clonorchiasis)
    • Often form in bile ducts
    • Lytic enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body's constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes from bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology: Overview/parasites hydrolyze bile lecithin → fatty acids, which bind calcium 
    • Calcium salts + bilirubin + cholesterol → brown stones
  • Variant pathology: “porcelain” gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract
    • Not a gallstone but often found in conjunction with gallstones
    • Calcifications in the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract wall, with mechanism felt to be the same as gallstones
    • Increased risk of gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract cancer
Cholelithiasis

Overlapping mechanisms that produce gallstones: cholesterol supersaturation, gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract hypomotility, and accelerated nucleation

Image by Lecturio.

Clinical presentation

  • Asymptomatic (80%): Gallstones are found on imaging incidentally.
  • Biliary colic:
    • Gallstone moves and transiently obstructs the cystic duct.
    • Constant, dull right upper quadrant (RUQ) pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain:
      • Lasting < 6 hours
      • Postprandial or nocturnal 
      • May radiate to the epigastrium, right shoulder, and back
    • Nausea, vomiting
    • No peritoneal signs

Diagnosis

  • History:
    • RUQ pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain
      • Postprandial
      • Nocturnal 
    • Nausea, vomiting, bloating, early satiety
    • Risk factors
  • Physical exam:
    • May have no significant findings
    • Mild RUQ tenderness, no peritoneal signs
  • Laboratory studies: complete blood count and liver function tests Liver function tests Liver function tests, also known as hepatic function panels, are one of the most commonly performed screening blood tests. Such tests are also used to detect, evaluate, and monitor acute and chronic liver diseases. Liver Function Tests (LFTs) are often normal.
  • Imaging:
    • RUQ ultrasound (US)
      • First test to perform for RUQ pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain
      • 95% specific for detecting stones
      • Shows gallstones with posterior acoustic shadow, possible sludge 
    • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
      • If regular ultrasound is equivocal or if concurrent stone in the common bile duct (CBD) is suspected
      • Can detect very small stones
    • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
      • If the ultrasound is equivocal
      • If CBD stone is also suspected

Management

Medical management

  • Preventive therapy (to prevent symptoms and more stone formation):
    • Dietary modification (↓ saturated fat intake; ↑ unsaturated fatty acids, vegetable protein, vitamin C)
    • Weight loss
    • Physical activity
  • Medical management:
    • Manage expectantly; surgical referral when symptoms develop
    • Oral litholysis with bile acids (ursodeoxycholic acid); efficacy is limited, need to take over a long period of time (> 6 months)
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), spasmolytics, anti-nausea medications (symptom relief)

Surgical management

  • Cholecystectomy:
    • Definitive treatment when indicated
    • Laparoscopic is the standard of care.
    • Open surgery for difficult cases and contraindications to laparoscopy Laparoscopy Laparoscopy is surgical exploration and interventions performed through small incisions with a camera and long instruments. Laparotomy and Laparoscopy
  • General indications for surgery:
    • Symptomatic (biliary colic) patients
    • Asymptomatic patients at risk of gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract cancer 
      • Porcelain gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract
      • Gallstones > 3 cm
      • Gallbladder adenomas
      • Anomalous pancreatic ductal drainage
    • Asymptomatic patients with hemolytic disorders
    • The following asymptomatic patients may benefit from surgery: 
      • Diabetic patients due to high risk for complications
      • Patients undergoing bariatric surgery Bariatric surgery Bariatric surgery refers to a group of invasive procedures used to surgically reduce the size of the stomach to produce early satiety, decrease food intake (restrictive type) and/or alter digestion, and artificially induce malabsorption of nutrients (malabsorptive type). The ultimate goal of bariatric surgery is drastic weight loss. Bariatric Surgery for weight loss
  • Complications/risks of surgery:
    • CBD injury
    • Biliary leaks
    • Injury to surrounding organs
    • Infection/abscess
    • Postcholecystectomy syndrome (bloating, dyspepsia)

Complications

Condition Pathology Clinical presentation Laboratory studies Diagnostic imaging Management
Cholecystitis Cystic duct obstruction with inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation Constant RUQ pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain (> 6 hours), Murphy’s sign ↑ WBC US Urgent cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy: Approaches and Technique
Choledocholithiasis Gallstone in CBD causing obstruction
  • Primary: formed in the bile duct
  • Secondary: gallstone migration
Postprandial colicky RUQ pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain > 6 hours; others: jaundice Jaundice Jaundice is the abnormal yellowing of the skin and/or sclera caused by the accumulation of bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is caused by either an increase in bilirubin production or a decrease in the hepatic uptake, conjugation, or excretion of bilirubin. Jaundice, acholic stool, dark urine, pruritus ↑ Bilirubin, ALP US, MRCP ERCP for stone removal → cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy: Approaches and Technique to prevent recurrence
Acute cholangitis Acute Cholangitis Acute cholangitis is a life-threatening condition characterized by fever, jaundice, and abdominal pain which develops as a result of stasis and infection of the biliary tract. Septic shock, liver abscess, and multi-organ dysfunction are potential serious complications. Acute Cholangitis Choledocholithiasis with infection; with biliary sepsis Sepsis Organ dysfunction resulting from a dysregulated systemic host response to infection separates sepsis from uncomplicated infection. The etiology is mainly bacterial and pneumonia is the most common known source. Patients commonly present with fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, hypotension, and/or altered mentation. Sepsis and Septic Shock (E. coli, Klebsiella Klebsiella Klebsiella are encapsulated gram-negative, lactose-fermenting bacilli. They form pink colonies on MacConkey agar due to lactose fermentation. The main virulence factor is a polysaccharide capsule. Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most important pathogenic species. Klebsiella, Pseudomonas Pseudomonas Pseudomonas is a non-lactose-fermenting, gram-negative bacillus that produces pyocyanin, which gives it a characteristic blue-green color. Pseudomonas is found ubiquitously in the environment, as well as in moist reservoirs, such as hospital sinks and respiratory equipment. Pseudomonas, Enterococcus Enterococcus Enterococcus is a genus of oval-shaped gram-positive cocci that are arranged in pairs or short chains. Distinguishing factors include optochin resistance and the presence of pyrrolidonyl arylamidase (PYR) and Lancefield D antigen. Enterococcus is part of the normal flora of the human GI tract. Enterococcus)
  • Charcot’s triad: RUQ pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain + fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever + jaundice Jaundice Jaundice is the abnormal yellowing of the skin and/or sclera caused by the accumulation of bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is caused by either an increase in bilirubin production or a decrease in the hepatic uptake, conjugation, or excretion of bilirubin. Jaundice
  • Reynold’s pentad: Charcot’s triad + shock Shock Shock is a life-threatening condition associated with impaired circulation that results in tissue hypoxia. The different types of shock are based on the underlying cause: distributive (↑ cardiac output (CO), ↓ systemic vascular resistance (SVR)), cardiogenic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), hypovolemic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), obstructive (↓ CO), and mixed. Types of Shock/ hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension + altered mental status
↑ WBC, ↑ bilirubin, ALP US, MRCP ERCP → emergent cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy: Approaches and Technique
Gallstone pancreatitis Small stones transiently obstructing pancreatic duct Epigastric pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain, nausea/vomiting ↑ WBC, ↑ amylase/lipase, ↑ bilirubin, ALP MRCP/CT scan Delayed cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy: Approaches and Technique
Gallstone ileus Large stone (> 2.5 cm) passing into the small bowel through a cholecystoduodenal fistula → obstruction Small bowel obstruction Small Bowel Obstruction Small bowel obstruction (SBO) is an interruption of the flow of the intraluminal contents through the small intestine, and is classified as mechanical (due to physical blockage) or functional (due to disruption of normal motility). The most common cause of SBO in the Western countries is post-surgical adhesions. Small bowel obstruction typically presents with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, distention, constipation, and/or obstipation. Small Bowel Obstruction (diffuse abdominal pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain, nausea/vomiting) ↑ WBC CT scan Surgery to extract the stone ( cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy: Approaches and Technique not performed in the same setting)
ALP: alkaline phophatase, CBD: common bile duct, CT: computed tomography, ERCP: endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, MRCP: magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, RUQ: right upper quadrant, US: ultrasound, WBC: white blood cells

Differential Diagnosis

  • Peptic ulcer disease Peptic ulcer disease Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) refers to the full-thickness ulcerations of duodenal or gastric mucosa. The ulcerations form when exposure to acid and digestive enzymes overcomes mucosal defense mechanisms. The most common etiologies include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic Ulcer Disease: ulceration of gastric or duodenal mucosa. Presents with epigastric pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain and nausea/vomiting. Pain is sometimes relieved with eating, unlike in biliary colic. The condition may be associated with hematemesis/melena. Diagnosis is made by upper endoscopy.
  • Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines, commonly caused by infections from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Transmission may be foodborne, fecal-oral, or through animal contact. Common clinical features include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. Gastroenteritis: acute viral infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Commonly presents with diffuse abdominal pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain, nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea. The illness is usually self-limited and resolves with supportive treatment.
  • Acute appendicitis Appendicitis Appendicitis is the acute inflammation of the vermiform appendix and the most common abdominal surgical emergency globally. The condition has a lifetime risk of 8%. Characteristic features include periumbilical abdominal pain that migrates to the right lower quadrant, fever, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis: an infection of the appendix. Presents with right lower quadrant (RLQ) pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain. Frequently associated with local peritonitis (rebound tenderness and guarding in the RLQ). In some cases (pregnancy, retrocecal appendix), appendicitis Appendicitis Appendicitis is the acute inflammation of the vermiform appendix and the most common abdominal surgical emergency globally. The condition has a lifetime risk of 8%. Characteristic features include periumbilical abdominal pain that migrates to the right lower quadrant, fever, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis may also present with pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain in the RUQ.
  • Pancreatitis: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas. The condition may present with sudden onset severe epigastric/RUQ pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain that is typically sharp, radiates to the back, and is relieved on bending forward. Most commonly associated with gallstones or alcohol abuse.
  • Nephrolithiasis Nephrolithiasis Nephrolithiasis is the formation of a stone, or calculus, anywhere along the urinary tract caused by precipitations of solutes in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone is the calcium oxalate stone, but other types include calcium phosphate, struvite (ammonium magnesium phosphate), uric acid, and cystine stones. Nephrolithiasis: also known as kidney stones. Presents with sudden onset of severe right or left flank pain Pain Pain has accompanied humans since they first existed, first lamented as the curse of existence and later understood as an adaptive mechanism that ensures survival. Pain is the most common symptomatic complaint and the main reason why people seek medical care. Physiology of Pain. Pain is colicky in nature and is associated with urinary symptoms such as hematuria/dysuria. Imaging shows stones in the urinary tract Urinary tract The urinary tract is located in the abdomen and pelvis and consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. The structures permit the excretion of urine from the body. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. Urinary Tract.

References

  1. Carey M C (1992). Pathogenesis of gallstones. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1529152/#
  2. Marschall H.U., Einarsson C. (2007). Gallstone disease. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01783
  3. Zakko, S. (2020). Overview of gallstone disease in adults. In Chopra, S. and Grover, S. (Eds). UpToDate. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-gallstone-disease-in-adults?search=Cholelithiasis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H58360586

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