Bile Duct Obstruction

bile duct obstruction symptoms

Bile duct obstruction is a clog in the tubes that bring bile from the liver to the gallbladder and little intestine.

Bile Duct Obstruction Causes

Bile is a liquid released by the liver. It includes cholesterol, bile salts, and waste products such as bilirubin. Bile salts assist your body break down (absorb) fats. Bile passes out of the liver through the bile ducts and is saved in the gallbladder. After a meal, it is released into the little intestinal tract.

When the bile ducts end up being blocked, bile develops in the liver, and jaundice (yellow color of the skin) develops due to the enhancing levels of bilirubin in the blood.

The possible reasons for an obstructed bile duct consist of:

  • bile duct obstruction after liver transplantCysts of the typical bile duct
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the porta hepatis
  • Gallstones
  • Inflammation of the bile ducts
  • Narrowing of the bile ducts from scarring
  • Injury from gallbladder surgery
  • Tumors of the bile ducts or pancreas
  • Growths that have actually spread to the biliary system
  • Liver and bile duct worms (flukes).

The threat aspects consist of:

  • History of gallstones, persistent pancreatitis, or pancreatic cancer.
  • Injury to the abdominal area.
  • Current biliary surgery.
  • Recent biliary cancer (such as bile duct cancer).

The blockage can also be caused by infections. This is more common face to faces with weakened immune systems.

Video: what is the bile duct, and what is a bile duct obstruction?

Symptoms of Bile Duct Obstruction

  • Abdominal pain in the upper right side.
  • Dark urine.
  • Fever.
  • Itching.
  • Jaundice (yellow skin color).
  • Nausea and throwing up.
  • Pale-colored stools.
  • Exams and Tests.

Your doctor or nurse will examine you and feel your belly.

The following blood test results might be due to a possible obstruction:

  • Increased bilirubin level.
  • Enhanced alkaline phosphatase level.
  • Increased liver enzymes.

The following tests might be made use of to investigate a possible obstructed bile duct:

  • Abdominal ultrasound.
  • Abdominal CT scan.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA).
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP).

An obstructed bile duct might also modify the results of the following tests:

  • Amylase blood test.
  • Gallbladder radionuclide scan.
  • Lipase blood test.
  • Prothrombin time (PT).
  • Urine bilirubin.

Bile Duct Obstruction Treatment

The objective of treatment is to ease the blockage. Stones may be gotten rid of utilizing an endoscope throughout an ERCP.

In many cases, surgery is needed to bypass the clog. The gallbladder will generally be surgically eliminated if the blockage is triggered by gallstones. Your health care service provider may prescribe prescription antibiotics if an infection is thought.

If the blockage is caused by cancer, the duct may have to be widened. This treatment is called endoscope or percutaneous (through the skin alongside the liver) dilation. A tube might have to be put to allow drainage.

Outlook (Prognosis)

If the obstruction is not corrected, it can cause life-threatening infection and a hazardous buildup of bilirubin.

If the clog lasts a long time, chronic liver condition can result. The majority of obstructions can be treated with endoscopy or surgery. Blockages caused by cancer typically have a worse outcome.

Possible Complications

Left without treatment, the possible problems include infections, sepsis, and liver illness, such as biliary cirrhosis.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your healthcare service provider if you observe a modification in the color of your urine and stools or you establish jaundice.


Be aware of any danger elements you have, so that you can get prompt medical diagnosis and treatment if a bile duct ends up being blocked. The obstruction itself might not be preventable.

Alternative Names: Biliary obstruction.


Updated: August 31, 2016 — 12:30 pm

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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