Inflammatory Processes in the Liver and Biliary Tract
The liver and bile ducts and gallbladder are common organs to be affected by inflammatory processes. This chapter summarizes the range of common benign disease processes that involve these organs. The most common of these diseases involve biliary stones, which may lodge in the gallbladder or intra- or extra-hepatic ducts. Bile duct and gallbladder obstruction lead to inflammation and infection. Ascending or idiopathic causes of biliary inflammation are also not uncommon and typically affect characteristic populations. Infection of the liver parenchyma is most commonly related to viral hepatitis, but can also be related to bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infection. Idiopathic causes, such as autoimmune hepatitis may also occur. Most of these benign entities predispose the patient to develop hepatobiliary malignancies, and so the evaluation of CT scans for these patients should include a search for possible tumor.