Gall bladder disease is defined by a blockage of the bile ducts and the inability of bile to flow from the liver to the intestines.
Gallbladder disease may be caused by gallstones, which develop for various reasons and can obstruct the flow of bile from the gallbladder or bile ducts. Bile, which contains digestive enzymes, is stored in the gallbladder and transmitted from the liver to the intestines via the bile ducts. If gallstones obstruct the flow of bile, this may result in right upper quadrant abdominal pain, jaundice or fever. The gallbladder may also cause symptoms without the presence of gallstones. If the gallbladder is unable to contract (squeeze) normally, right upper quadrant abdominal pain may result, particularly with meals.
- Right upper quadrant abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain after meals
Exams and Tests
Ultrasound and CT imaging will be used to determine the presence of gallstones. A Gallbadder Ejection Fraction Study measures the contraction (squeezing) of the gallbladder. Blood tests measure bilirubin. (Elevated bilirubin causes yellowing of the skin.)
Most gallbladder diseases, including gallstones and poor contraction, are treated by surgical removal of the gallbladder. Your child's pediatric gastroenterologist may recommend a consultation with a pediatric surgeon to discuss surgical options.
If gallstones are found to be present but do not produce symptoms, your child should be monitored with periodic ultrasound. You should report any occurrence of symptoms to your child's pediatric gastroenterologist.
Sometimes medicines may be used to try and dissolve gallstones.