Podcast #301: Biliary Pathology - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Don Stader, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • Common pathologies include cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, and in concerningly ascending cholangitis.
  • Cholecystitis is obstruction at the cystic duct leading to inflammation of gallbladder wall, while choledocholithiasis is a distal obstruction of the biliary tree, and ascending cholangitis is an ascending infection of the biliary tree secondary to obstruction.
  • Risk factors for Cholecystitis are the 5 F’s (Fat, Forty, Female, Fertile, Family Hx).
  • Classic symptoms seen in ascending cholangitis are Charcot’s Triad of fever, RUQ pain, and jaundice, or Reynold’s pentad which is more severe and has the addition ofaltered mental status and hypotension.
  • Porcelain gallbladder is a radiographic finding showing calcification of the gallbladder that is associated with cancer of the gallbladder.


Kimura Y, Takada T, Kawarada Y, et al. (2007). “Definitions, pathophysiology, and epidemiology of acute cholangitis and cholecystitis: Tokyo Guidelines”. J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg.

Strasberg, SM (26 June 2008). “Clinical practice. Acute calculous cholecystitis”. The New England Journal of Medicine. 358 (26): 2804–11.

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