Monday, January 7, 2008

Gall Bladder Issues in Cystic Fibrosis

The gall bladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that connects to the liver by a series of ducts. As part of the digestive system, the gallbladder’s role is to store bile (a bitter liquid produced by the liver) that will be used to digest food, particularly fat, on its way to the small intestine.

Nearly every cystic fibrosis (CF) patient has or will develop gallbladder problems at some point during his or her lifetime. In people with CF, the gallbladder is abnormally small and fails to function properly due to blockage by thick bile. In many cases, the gallbladder becomes atrophied because of non-use. Gall stones may form when the gall bladder fails to empty properly for long periods of time. In cases where the gall bladder becomes blocked because of gall stones, the risk of pancreatitis (swollen pancreas) increases.

Symptoms that may indicate gallbladder irregularities include:

-abdominal pain in the pit of the stomach

- pain and discomfort when eating

-difficulty taking deep breaths

-vomiting

-pale stools

-dark urine

-abnormal or unusual bloating with indigestion

In order to determine if the gall bladder is functioning properly, or if gall stones are creating a problem, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, or x-rays. One of the most effective ways to see how well the gall bladder is working is by performing a CT scan with contrast. In this type of scan, a special type of dye is injected into the patient’s arm. The CT scanner will then take a series of images as the dye moves from the liver to the bile duct, gall bladder, and ultimately, small intestine.

Occasionally the gall bladder will need to be surgically removed. This is often done via laparoscopy, a procedure in which only a few small incisions are made in the abdomen. This type of surgery is relatively simple, typically performed on and outpatient basis. Removal of the gall bladder will not impair digestion. The only difference is that your body will no longer be able to store bile between meals. Once the gall bladder is removed, bile will move directly from the liver to the bile duct and into the small intestine.

According to Dr. Brian K. Weinstein, "Up to 27% of patients with CF have gallstones, but only about 4% are symptomatic. Biliary colic is the pain associated with stones as they pass. This pain usually passes, but can recur. When the gallbladder is swollen, with pain, this can be cholecystitis, an inflammation and infection of the gallbladder. This can initially be treated with antibiotics, but usually is an indication for surgery."


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Supporting links

Gall Bladder Disease in Cystic Fibrosis

The Gall Bladder and Biliary Tract in Cystic Fibrosis

Bile Acid Secretion in CF: Evidence for a Defect Unrelated to Fat Malabsorption

8 comments:

Sonia said...

Thanks for your info on gall bladder in CF patients. My daughter has had syptoms and is scheduled for an ultrasound.
Thanks

Ronnie said...

I am getting my gall bladder removed teusday. This article helped me alot. Thank you

Gall bladder symptoms said...

Gall bladder cancer is a rare cancer. It is rarely found among below fifty age. And it is mostly found in females then males. The reason behind this cancer is not very much clear. Person suffering from it, feels sick, fever, yellowing of skin, scratchy skin etc. If anyone feels such symptoms should immediately go to doctor because mostly this cancer is detected in last stage.

maggie.danhakl@healthline.com said...

Hi Lauren,

Healthline.com recently launched a free interactive "Human Body Maps" tool. I thought your readers would be interested in our body map of the Gallbladder: http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/gallbladder

It would be much appreciated if you could include this tool on http://understandingcysticfibrosis.blogspot.com/2008/01/gall-bladder-issues-in-cystic-fibrosis.html and / or share with friends and followers. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Thank you in advance.
Warm Regards,

Maggie Danhakl- Assistant Marketing Manager
p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

Healthline Networks, Inc. * Connect to Better Health
660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 www.healthline.com

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