Published online Feb 15, 2018. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v9.i1.1
Peer-review started: April 10, 2017
First decision: May 26, 2017
Revised: July 5, 2017
Accepted: October 30, 2017
Article in press: October 30, 2017
Published online: February 15, 2018
Acute cholangitis is bacterial infection of the extra-hepatic biliary system. As it is caused by gallstones blocking the common bile duct in most of the cases, its prevalence is greater in ethnicities with high prevalence of gallstones. Biliary obstruction of any cause is the main predisposing factor. Diagnosis is established by the presence of clinical features, laboratory results and imaging studies. The treatment modalities include administration of intravenous fluid, antibiotics, and drainage of the bile duct. The outcome is good if the treatment is started early, otherwise it could be grave.
Core tip: Acute cholangitis is a serious medical problem unless treated early. High clinical suspicion is essential to diagnose this condition. The different diagnostic criteria, treatment options, including different modalities of biliary drainage, and prognosis are described in this article.