Definition of Bile duct obstruction
Bile duct obstruction is a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Bile is a liquid released by the liver. It contains cholesterol, bile salts, and waste products such as bilirubin. Bile salts help your body break down (digest) fats. Bile passes out of the liver through the bile ducts and is stored in the gallbladder. After a meal, it is released into the small intestine.
Signs and tests
Your health care provider will examine your abdomen and may be able to feel the gallbladder.
The goal of treatment is to relieve the blockage. Stones may be removed using an endoscope during an ERCP.
If the blockage is not corrected, it can lead to life-threatening infection and a dangerous buildup of bilirubin.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. – 5/23/2010