May 1978

Intravenous Cholangiography in the Diagnosis of Acute Cholecystitis

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, St Louis, and the Departments of Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City (Dr Chang) and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis (Dr Cheung).

Arch Surg. 1978;113(5):568-570. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370170030004

• We reviewed our experience with intravenous cholangiography in the evaluation of 70 patients with suspected acute cholecystitis. Twenty-one of these patients had visualization of the biliary ducts without opacification of the gallbladder, a roentgenographic finding that was considered diagnostic of acute cholecystitis. Twenty of the 21 patients were noted to have acute cholecystitis during exploratory laparotomy. The remaining patient had a normal gallbladder, but was found to have a liver abscess. Opacification of the gallbladder with evidence of gallstones was found in eight patients; all had acute cholecystitis. Visualization of the gallbladder without gallstones was found in 22 patients, revealing no acute cholecystitis in this group. Many of these patients were admitted to the hospital with a primary diagnosis of acute cholecystitis and were spared an unnecessary surgical exploration. Nineteen patients had nonvisualization of the gallbladder and biliary ducts. This roentgenographic finding may be caused by acute intra-abdominal conditions other than cholecystitis and caution is warranted in its interpretation. This test has been found to be a reliable adjunct in the work-up of patients with suspected acute cholecystitis.

(Arch Surg 113:568-570, 1978)