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Uncommon Presentation of Severe Empyema of the Gallbladder: Case Report and Literature Review

Adel Elkbuli, Carol Sanchez, Kyle Kinslow, Mark McKenney, Dessy Boneva

(Department of Surgery, Kendall Regional Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923040

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923040

BACKGROUND: Empyema of the gallbladder is a complication of cholecystitis that can develop into sepsis if not treated promptly. Signs and symptoms of gallstone disease are nausea/vomiting, right upper quadrant tenderness, and a history of gallstone disease. With persistence of the obstruction, inflammation and bacterial overgrowth within the gallbladder lumen and tissue may lead to eventual venous congestion, pressure necrosis and even empyema of the gallbladder.
CASE REPORT: A 60-year old male presented with complaints of mild mid-epigastric pain radiating to the back. He denied previous similar history. CT and ultrasound of the abdomen revealed acute cholecystitis. During surgery, it was clear that the imaging did not accurately represent the severity of the infection and he was diagnosed with gallbladder empyema. Surgery was difficult but was successfully finished. The patient’s symptoms and laboratory results normalized by post-operative day 3 and he was discharged. He had no further complications during 2-week follow up.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians should keep the abnormal presentations of gallbladder empyema in mind and prepare themselves for a presentation different from imaging during surgery. Several prognostic factors including gallbladder wall thickness, gender, white cell count and diabetes mellitus have been associated with severe complicated cholecystitis and empyema of the gallbladder.

Keywords: Cholecystitis, Cholecystitis, Acute, Empyema, Gangrene

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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