An 86-year-old man with acute abdominal pain

Paul van Dam*, Dirk Posthouwer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


An 86-year-old man presented with severe pain in the upper abdomen along with fever. On physical examination, we found an arterial blood pressure of 84/43 mm Hg, a heart rate of 80 bpm and a temperature of 38.3°C. The abdomen was painful and peristalsis was absent. Empiric antibiotic therapy for sepsis was started with amoxicillin/clavulanate and gentamicin. CT scan of the abdomen revealed an emphysematous cholecystitis. Percutaneous ultrasound-guided cholecystostomy was applied. Bile cultures revealed Clostridium perfringens. Emphysematous cholecystitis is a life-threatening form of acute cholecystitis that occurs as a consequence of ischaemic injury to the gallbladder, followed by translocation of gas-forming bacteria (ie, C. perfringens, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella and Streptococci). The mortality associated with emphysematous cholecystitis is higher than in non-emphysematous cholecystitis (15% vs 4%). Therefore, early diagnosis with radiological imaging is of vital importance.2016 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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