May 1975

Acute Acalculous CholecystitisComplication of Other Illnesses in Childhood

Author Affiliations

From the departments of surgery (Dr. Ternberg) and pediatrics (Dr. Keating), Washington University School of Medicine, and the divisions of pediatric surgery (Dr. Ternberg) and gastroenterology (Dr. Keating), St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(5):543-547. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360110089016

Seventy-four cases of acalculous cholecystitis in infants and children (seven personal cases and 67 from the literature) were analyzed. In 45 cases the cholecystitis appeared as a complication of another illness. The primary illnesses in our patients were leptospirosis (four cases), diarrhea (two cases), and third-degree burns (one case). All seven children were critically ill. Abdominal pain and an abdominal mass were present in all. Fever was present in six of the seven patients, jaundice in four. Tube cholecystostomies were done in all cases. After recovery from their illness, the five surviving patients had normal biliary tracts when studied by cholangiography via the tube. Acute acalculous cholecystitis in infancy and childhood as a complication of injury or illness should be treated as an undrained abscess.