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Child is having distended gallbladder. What does this mean?

Dec 2012
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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1694 Questions
What does it mean for my child to have a distended gallbladder? We took him to the ER with stomach pains and vomiting. They thought it was his appendix but after CT scan said it was not and his gallbladder was distended. Said he has a stomach bug. Could it be something with his gallbladder. He complains with stomach pain at least twice a week. I always just relate it to bowel movement now I'm thinking it could all be related to gallbladder. He has admitted overnight for observation. The ER doc said he was too young for gallbladder issues. But I have had my removed also my Dad and his grandmother own his fathers side.

Posted Wed, 8 May 2013 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 4 hours later

Thanks for posting,

At his age, having a distended gall bladder is extremely rare and the condition is also known as pediatric cholecystitis which could be acute or chronic. If on CT his gallbladder are distended, then there is an issue with his gallbladder which could present as you described.
Cholecystitis, which has long been considered an adult disease, is quickly gaining recognition in pediatric practice because of the significant documented increase in nonhemolytic cases over the last 20 years. Although gallbladder disease is much rarer in children, with 1.3 pediatric cases occurring per every 1000 adult cases, pediatric patients undergo 4% of all cholecystectomies (removal of gallbladder).
Given your family history of gallbladder issues/removal, it is very possible for the kid to have developed gallbladder issues in his turn (even though earlier). The cause is mainly gallstones.
Expectant management is good (as in your present situation with him placed under observation). A pediatric surgeon should also be kept informed in case need arises to perform a cholecystectomy.

Hope this information serves for a good purpose.

Dr. Nsah
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