Acute cholangitis

Pamela A. Lipsett, Henry A. Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Acute cholangitis is an infectious disease of the biliary tract with a wide spectrum of presentation ranging in severity from a mild form with fever and jaundice, to a severe form with septic shock. Supportive care with hydration, antibiotics, and biliary decompression remain the cornerstones of care. Broad-spectrum antibiotics should include coverage of E.coli, Klebsiella sp., Enterococcus sp., and in severely critically ill patients, coverage of additional pathogens such as Bacteriodes sp., Pseudomonas, and yeast should be considered. Biliary decompression should be performed early in the course of the illness when the patient has not improved or if they worsen with hydration and antibiotics. Stable patients should have biliary decompression usually within 72 hours when the fever has resolved. Urgent decompression with a percutaneous or endoscopie stent is preferred over an operative decompression in most institutions. Outcome is dependent on the etiology of the obstruction (benign versus malignant) and the ability to achieve biliary decompression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)s1229-s1239
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 2003


  • Acute Cholangitis
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Review
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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