The more common lesions of the biliary tract complicated by obstructive jaundice are stones in the common bile duct, empyema of the gallbladder with cholangeitis, stricture of the common duct, and tumors of the head of the pancreas, usually carcinomatous, rarely inflammatory. In this group, relief of the obstruction and removal or drainage of the infected gallbladder, when such is indicated, is followed by recovery unless the obstruction is the result of a carcinoma at the head of the pancreas. In the latter condition, although the patient eventually dies from the malignant disease, an anastomosis between the distended gallbladder and the intestine allows the distended biliary tract to empty; jaundice disappears and the itching, so often the only distressing symptom in this group of cases, is relieved.
General functional impairment of the body and tissues in patients with obstructive jaundice is evidenced by the loss of weight and strength, the
WALTERS W. PHYSIOLOGIC CONSIDERATIONS IN THE TREATMENT OF OBSTRUCTIVE JAUNDICE. JAMA. 1926;87(26):2153–2156. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680260021008
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