Complications of Gallbladder Infection

The gallbladder is almost the size of a pear and sits below the liver. The primary function of a gall bladder is to receive bile from the liver and store it. Bile is a pale yellowish green liquid made by the liver to digest fats. As fats reach the intestine, bile is released from the gallbladder to help digest it. The tube that serves as a connection between the gall bladder and the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) is called the bile duct.

Gallbladder attack or pain is mostly associated with a blockage in the bile duct caused by gallstones. Gall stones are formed due to thickening of bile due to the excess presence of undigested fat and cholesterol droplets in it.

Acute Cholecystitis refers to

gallbladder infection

. Of all types of gall bladder diseases, this condition happens in 20% of cases. The gall stones present in the organ can get lodged in the cystic duct (the duct carrying bile into the common bile duct). The bile gets accumulated and microbes in the gut could aid in the organ getting infected. This is the most common gallbladder disorder. The symptoms include fever, increased pulse, breathlessness and confusion. The prognosis of this condition is good with immediate medical attention. A surgery requiring a complete removal of the infected gall bladder is the most preferred line of treatment.

In this article, we are going to focus on the

different complications of gallbladder infection


Different types of Gallbladder Disorders

    Gangrenous Gallbladder

    : If the above condition is not treated immediately and persists for some time, it causes the walls of the gallbladder to get inflamed and infected. This leads to the necrosis or destruction of tissue in the organ which causes the gangrene. It is a serious side effect of the infection and can lead to a fatal condition by causing the toxins to spread throughout the body resulting in septicemia. Surgery, again is highly recommended in this case.

    Perforated gallbladder

    : Again a serious by product of the infection of the said organ, this condition is present in 10% of patients with acute cholecystitis. The presence of the infected bile has a corrosive effect on the walls of the gallbladder and may become thin enough to be perforated. The result of such a perforation would be peritonitis or severe abdominal infection. Again, gallbladder removal surgery would be the ideal fix in such a situation.


    : This condition is characterized with the formation of pus in the gallbladder. It happens in 2-3% of patients with infected gallbladder. This is an extremely painful condition which can also result in spreading the infection to the other parts of the body.


    : It refers to an abnormal connection or passage way between two internal organs. Sometimes the inflamed and infected gall bladder perforates and connects to a nearby organ forming a channel. Gallstones can pass through such passageways and reach the small intestine causing a further complication.

    Gallstone Ileus

    : Gallstone ileus refers to the condition which occurs when the gallstone reaches the intestine. It could very well turn fatal and requires immediate surgery to remove it.


    : This condition refers to the infection in the common bile duct. Inflammation and infection in the bile duct is caused because of the gall stones coming in the way of the bile. This condition requires strong antibiotics to be treated. In severe cases, where antibiotics do not respond well, surgery is required to drain the ducts and reduce the infection.


    : Pancreatitis is a condition which could also be brought about by gallstones which have lodged into the common duct that drains both the pancreas and the liver. The pancreatic duct drains the pancreatic enzymes from the pancreas into the common bile duct before it reaches the intestine. The reflux of the pancreatic enzymes back into the pancreas due to the blockage causes autolysis or self destruction of the cells of the pancreas and damages them.

    Hence, gallstone surgery or gallbladder removal (cholcystectomy) is imperative to treat the above complications of gallbladder infection. The prognosis of any gallbladder disease is good, provided it receives emergent medical attention.

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