Acute cholecystitis: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

The main symptom is abdominal pain that is located on the upper right side or upper middle of the abdomen. The pain may:

Cholecystitis, CT scan

* Be sharp, cramping, or dull
* Come and go
* Spread to the back or below the right shoulder blade
* Occur within minutes of a meal

Other symptoms that may occur include:

* Abdominal fullness
* Clay-colored stools
* Fever
* Nausea and vomiting
* Yellowing of skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Diagnosis & Tests

A physical exam will show that your abdomen is tender to the touch.

Your doctor may order the following blood tests:

* Amylase and lipase
* Bilirubin
* Complete blood count ( CBC) — may show a higher than normal white blood cell count
* Liver function tests

Imaging tests that can show gallstones or inflammation include:

* Abdominal ultrasound
* Abdominal CT scan
* Abdominal x-ray
* Oral cholecystogram
* Gallbladder radionuclide scan


Review Date : 7/6/2009
Reviewed By : George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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