[Acute cholangitis: imaging diagnosis and management]

B P Gallix, S Aufort, M A Pierredon, F Garibaldi, J M Bruel
Journal de Radiologie 2006, 87 (4 Pt 2): 430-40
Cholangitis is an infection of the biliary ductal system that results from biliary obstruction. Choledocholithiasis has been the leading cause of acute cholangitis. Acute cholangitis remains a life-threatening complication of biliary obstruction that needs emergency diagnosis and treatment. Ultrasound (US) is the primary imaging modality for assessment of patients with suspected acute cholangitis. US is both sensitive and specific in demonstrating biliary dilatation. However, biliary dilatation is not always present at the early stage of bile duct obstruction and the performance of US in demonstrating choledocholithiasis is poor. Computed tomography (CT) without contrast injection is more sensitive than US in demonstrating choledocholithiasis. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and endoscopic sonography (EUS) are the most sensitive techniques to correctly determine the underlying cause and level of biliary obstruction in patients with acute cholangitis. In patients without previous cholecystectomy, clinical, biological, and US results allow to determine patients with high probability of having choledocholithiasis even if the stone is not directly visible on US. Patients undergoing cholecystectomy require laparoscopic common bile duct exploration, especially if the common bile duct clearance is not checked before surgery by MRCP or EUS.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"