Acute acalculous cholecystitis in children

World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Nov 21;24(43):4870-4879. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i43.4870.


Acute acalculous cholecystitis (AAC) is the inflammatory disease of the gallbladder in the absence of gallstones. AAC is estimated to represent at least 50% to 70% of all cases of acute cholecystitis during childhood. Although this pathology was originally described in critically ill or post-surgical patients, most pediatric cases have been observed during several infectious diseases. In addition to cases caused by bacterial and parasitic infections, most pediatric reports after 2000 described children developing AAC during viral illnesses (such as Epstein-Barr virus and hepatitis A virus infections). Moreover, some pediatric cases have been associated with several underlying chronic diseases and, in particular, with immune-mediated disorders. Here, we review the epidemiological aspects of pediatric AAC, and we discuss etiology, pathophysiology and clinical management, according to the cases reported in the medical literature.

Keywords: Acute acalculous cholecystitis; Children; Viral biliary disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acalculous Cholecystitis / diagnosis
  • Acalculous Cholecystitis / epidemiology*
  • Acalculous Cholecystitis / etiology
  • Acalculous Cholecystitis / therapy
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / epidemiology*
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / therapy
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / virology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / complications*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology
  • Gallbladder / immunology
  • Gallbladder / surgery
  • Gallbladder / virology
  • Hepatitis A / complications*
  • Hepatitis A / immunology
  • Hepatitis A / virology
  • Hepatitis A Virus, Human / isolation & purification
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents