What is the difference between cholecystitis and acute cholecystitis?

Cholecystitis and acute cholecystitis refer to two related conditions involving inflammation of the gallbladder, but they differ in terms of their duration and presentation.

  1. Cholecystitis: Cholecystitis is a broad term that refers to inflammation of the gallbladder. It can be further categorized into acute cholecystitis and chronic cholecystitis.
  2. Acute cholecystitis: Acute cholecystitis specifically describes a sudden onset and relatively short duration of inflammation in the gallbladder. It is typically caused by the presence of gallstones blocking the cystic duct, leading to the accumulation of bile and increased pressure within the gallbladder. Acute cholecystitis is characterized by symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, tenderness in the right upper abdomen, fever, and often requires prompt medical intervention. If left untreated, it can lead to complications such as abscess formation or perforation of the gallbladder.
  3. Chronic cholecystitis: Chronic cholecystitis, on the other hand, refers to a long-standing inflammation of the gallbladder. It is often associated with repeated episodes of gallbladder inflammation over an extended period. Chronic cholecystitis is commonly caused by the presence of gallstones, but it can also occur due to other factors such as biliary sludge, gallbladder polyps, or certain infections. The symptoms of chronic cholecystitis are typically milder and less severe than those of acute cholecystitis. Common symptoms include intermittent pain in the right upper abdomen, bloating, and indigestion. Over time, chronic cholecystitis can lead to gallbladder dysfunction and may necessitate surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy).

In summary, acute cholecystitis refers to a sudden and severe inflammation of the gallbladder caused by gallstones, while cholecystitis is a broader term encompassing both acute and chronic inflammation of the gallbladder. The distinction between the two lies in the duration and severity of the inflammation.

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