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Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am. 2013 Apr;23(2):199-218. doi: 10.1016/j.giec.2012.12.008. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Infections of the biliary tract.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Infection of the biliary tract, or cholangitis, is a potentially life-threatening condition. Bile duct stones are the most common cause of biliary obstruction predisposing to cholangitis. The key components in the pathogenesis of cholangitis are biliary obstruction and biliary infection. Several underlying mechanisms of bactibilia have been proposed. Characteristic clinical features of cholangitis include abdominal pain, fever, and jaundice. A combination of clinical features with laboratory tests and imaging studies are frequently used to diagnose cholangitis. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is the best diagnostic test. Less invasive imaging tests may be performed initially in clinically stable patients with uncertain diagnoses.

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