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Cholangitis is a descriptive term for inflammation within the bile ducts. This usually only arises when something causes obstruction within the bile duct, such as a gallstone, stricture or tumour (cholangiocarcinoma or pancreatic cancer). The poorly draining bile may then become infected by organisms, usually bacteria which then cause increasing inflammation within the bile duct. This inflammation is known as cholangitis. Cholangitis is often associated with fevers sweats and abdominal pain. It requires urgent treatment since untreated cholangitis can lead to overwhelming sepsis and fatality. Whilst oral antibiotics may be effective in many patients admission to hospital is often indicated. Intra-venous antibiotics are often given. It is important that the cause of any hold up to the free flow of bile is addressed when patients present with cholangitis. This may require ERCP and or the removal of stones or the stenting of any narrowing (Stricture) within the bile duct.

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