The ultrasound results are in. I have "sludge balls," which I am guessing is a pre-gallstone condition. The report goes on and on about how sexy my liver, spleen and pancreas are. All it says about the gallbladder is "Sludge balls are noted in the gallbladder, without evidence of shadowing. They are mobile within the gallbladder. No gallbladder wall thickening or pericholecystic fluid is identified." I have no idea what in tarnation 'pericholecystic' means, but when lurching around on the internet I found this link, which is only interesting to me because I also have elevated bilirubin.
The report concludes "Multiple sludge balls in the gallbladder, without evidence of cholecystitis."
Chronic cholecystitis is caused by repeated mild attacks of acute cholecystitis. This leads to thickening of the walls of the gallbladder. The gallbladder begins to shrink and eventually loses the ability to perform its function: concentrating and storing bile. Eating fatty foods may aggravate the symptoms of cholecystitis, because bile is needed to digest such foods.
Also according to Healthline: "Acute cholecystitis is a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder that causes severe abdominal pain." And it did hurt.
In 90% of cases, acute cholecystitis is caused by gallstones in the gallbladder, which obstruct the duct leading from the gallbladder to the common bile duct (which drains into the intestine). Severe illness, alcohol abuse and, rarely, tumors of the gallbladder may also cause cholecystitis.
The trapped bile becomes concentrated and causes irritation and pressure build-up in the gallbladder. This can lead to bacterial infection and perforation. Attacks may follow a large or fatty meal.
In two or three of my four episodes, it was after eating pizza. I now avoid all cheese.
Dr. Quack left a voicemail: "Yes, your gallbladder uh, looked, not so good, um, there was lots of sludging [unintelligible -- 'I believe?' or 'they believe?' or 'maybe?'] some stones. Going off of memory. If there's a fax number..."
So since he was going off of memory and did not speak clearly, I am left in the same position as before: wondering if I have, or am at risk of gallstones.
The GP's office called later to say that sludge balls are not a big worry. Once I get that feeding tube installed, we should be able to pour an ox bile solution into it.