Obstruction of the Biliary and Urinary System

Tech Vasc Interv Radiol. 2017 Dec;20(4):288-293. doi: 10.1053/j.tvir.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Oct 9.


Biliary and urinary obstructions can be managed endoscopically or cystoscopically, surgically or by percutansous intervention or drainage. If the obtructed system is infected, emergent decompression is needed. Early recognition and treatment is paramount in both conditions. Acute cholangitis can present many different ways, from mild symptoms to fulminant sepsis. It is usually a result of ascending bacterial colonization and biliary obstruction resulting in bacterial overgrowth. Therefore, those patients with recent biliary instrumentation or previous biliary modification are at higher risk. Charcot's triad of fever, right upper quadrant abdominal pain, and jaundice is only seen in 50%-70% of patients. Fever is seen in over 90% of cases, pain is seen in 70% of cases, and jaundice is seen in 60% of cases. Altered mental status and hypotension are associated with severe cases. All 5 symptoms of fever, right upper quadrant abdominal pain, jaundice, altered mental status, and hypotension are referred to as Reynold's Pentad. Acute pyonephrosis can also present many different ways, from minimal symptoms to fulminant sepsis. Fever, chills, and flank pain are the classic symptoms, although some patients may be relatively asymptomatic. Pyonephrosis may present with a classic triad of fever, flank pain, and hydronephrosis, or simply hydronephrosis and sepsis. Pyonephrosis usually occurs as a result of urinary obstruction with either an ascending infection of the urinary tract or hematogenous spread of a bacterial pathogen as the culprit. Up to 75% of cases are related to urinary stone disease. Patients are at increased risk for pyonephrosis when they haven anatomic urinary tract obstruction, certain chronic diseases (diabetes meliitus and AIDS), or are immunosuppressed due to immunodeficiency or medications, (chronic steroid therapy).

Keywords: Biliary; Cholangitis; Nephrostomy; Obstructed; Percutaneous; Urinary.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiography
  • Cholangitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholangitis / etiology
  • Cholangitis / physiopathology
  • Cholangitis / therapy*
  • Cholestasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholestasis / etiology
  • Cholestasis / physiopathology
  • Cholestasis / therapy*
  • Drainage / adverse effects
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jaundice, Obstructive / diagnostic imaging
  • Jaundice, Obstructive / etiology
  • Jaundice, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Jaundice, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Kidney Calculi / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Kidney Calculi / physiopathology
  • Kidney Calculi / therapy*
  • Male
  • Nephrostomy, Percutaneous / adverse effects
  • Nephrostomy, Percutaneous / methods*
  • Radiography, Interventional*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ureteral Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Ureteral Obstruction / etiology
  • Ureteral Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Ureteral Obstruction / therapy*