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Acalculous cholecystitis in Nigerian children

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Sixteen children with acalculous cholecystitis (AC) were treated over a 9-year period (13 male and 3 female). Their ages ranged from 8 to 18 years (median 11). Eight (50%) presented with complications (perforation 4, gangrene 2, empyema 2); 13 (80%) presented with acute AC with a duration of symptoms of 2 weeks or less while 3 (20%) presented with chronic AC with symptoms present for more than 3 months. The diagnosis was made by ultrasound except in the patients with complications, who were diagnosed at laparotomy. Salmonella typhi was cultured in the bile and blood in 2 cases and the Widal titre was significantly elevated in 4 others. One child had chronic blockage of the cystic duct by a lymph node; in 9 there was no identifiable cause. Open cholecystectomy was successfully performed in 15 cases, while 1 child was managed non-operatively. The need for early diagnosis of cholecystitis in children is obvious if the potentially life-threatening complications of perforation and gangrene are to be avoided.

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Correspondence to L. B. Chirdan.

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Chirdan, L.B., Iya, D., Ramyil, V.M. et al. Acalculous cholecystitis in Nigerian children. Ped Surgery Int 19, 65–67 (2003).

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