What is the role of radiography in the workup of acute cholangitis?

Updated: Dec 29, 2017
  • Author: Timothy M Scott, DO; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

In general, abdominal films aid little in the diagnosis of acute cholangitis. Findings may include the following:

  • An ileus may be observed.

  • Between 10% and 30% of gallstones have a ring of calcium and, as a result, are radiopaque.

  • Films may show air in the biliary tree after endoscopic manipulation or if the patient has emphysematous cholecystitis, cholangitis, or a cholecystic-enteric fistula.

  • Air in the gallbladder wall indicates emphysematous cholecystitis.


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