Gallbladder Torsion Masking as Acalculus Cholecystitis: A Review of Two Cases Including Unsuccessful Management With Percutaneous Cholecystostomy

Jack Cecire, Andrew Sutherland, Kamala Kanta Das


Gallbladder torsion is a rare cause of abdominal pain; however, it is important to diagnose pre-operatively. We report two cases of gallbladder torsion, both of which were not recognized until the time of surgery. Both patients were elderly thin females, presenting with right upper quadrant pain, and on examination had a positive Murphys sign, and pre-operative imaging was suggestive of acalculus cholecystitis. One patient was initially managed by percutaneous insertion of a cholecystostomy tube, with progression to a laparoscopic cholecystectomy after a failure of resolution of symptoms. The second patient was taken to theater shortly after presentation, with the gallbladder torsion recognized intra-operatively. In both cases, the gallbladder was distorted and a routine laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed with good recovery following. These two cases highlight the need for gallbladder torsion to be considered as a diagnostic possibility in those presenting with right upper quadrant pain, particularly those groups at most risk, including elderly thin females. Whilst other causes of cholecystitis can be managed non-operatively, at least in the acute phase, gallbladder torsion requires urgent operative intervention.

J Med Cases. 2021;12(6):223-225


Gallbladder; Torsion; Volvulus; Cholecystitis; Acute; Acalculus

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