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Biliary Tract Infection

Last updated July 17, 2017

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Cholangitis is infection of the biliary tract (or bile duct) caused by bacteria. The biliary tract is a tube that drains the bile juice from the liver into the intestine.


The topic Biliary Tract Infection you are seeking is a synonym, or alternative name, or is closely related to the medical condition Cholangitis.

Quick Summary:

  • Cholangitis is infection of the biliary tract (or bile duct) caused by bacteria. The biliary tract is a tube that drains the bile juice from the liver into the intestine
  • Organisms commonly responsible for Cholangitis include Bacteroides fragilis, Escherichia coli, Enterococci and Klebsiella. This infection is reported to occur chiefly in older adults
  • The two important risk factors for Cholangitis include any obstruction in the biliary tract, such as due to bile duct stone or tumor, or procedures to manipulate the bile duct such as endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP)
  • Some common symptoms associated with Cholangitis include fever, jaundice, and abdominal pain. The diagnosis may be established through a complete physical examination, blood tests, and an abdominal ultrasound scan
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics to treat biliary tract infection are the mainstay of treatment. In severe cases of Cholangitis, endoscopic decompression may be required to drain the pus from the biliary tract
  • The prognosis of Cholangitis depends upon the provision of timely treatment. Whereas less severe cases with appropriate treatment have very good prognosis, severe cases with delayed treatment may result in grave complications such as sepsis or kidney failure
  • Addressing issues of biliary tract obstruction in a timely manner may help an individual from developing Cholangitis

Please find comprehensive information on Cholangitis regarding definition, distribution, risk factors, causes, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment, prevention, prognosis, and additional useful information HERE.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 17, 2017
Last updated: July 17, 2017