How is acute cholecystitis treated?

Updated: May 20, 2021
  • Author: Alan A Bloom, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Treatment of cholecystitis depends on the severity of the condition and the presence or absence of complications.

In acute cholecystitis, the initial treatment includes bowel rest, IV hydration, correction of electrolyte abnormalities, analgesia, and IV antibiotics. Options include the following:

  • Sanford guide – Piperacillin-tazobactam, ampicillin-sulbactam, or meropenem; in severe life-threatening cases, imipenem-cilastatin

  • Alternative regimens – Third-generation cephalosporin plus metronidazole

  • Emesis can be treated with antiemetics and nasogastric suction

  • Because of the rapid progression of acute acalculous cholecystitis to gangrene and perforation, early recognition and intervention are required.

  • Supportive medical care should include restoration of hemodynamic stability and antibiotic coverage for gram-negative enteric flora and anaerobes if biliary tract infection is suspected.

  • Daily stimulation of gallbladder contraction with IV cholecystokinin (CCK) may help prevent formation of gallbladder sludge in patients receiving TPN

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