CT finding of transient focal increased attenuation of the liver adjacent to the gallbladder in acute cholecystitis

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1995 Feb;164(2):343-6. doi: 10.2214/ajr.164.2.7839966.

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this article is to report the finding of transient focal increased attenuation of the liver adjacent to the gallbladder on enhanced CT scans in patients with acute cholecystitis. This finding should not be confused with primary liver abnormalities.

Materials and methods: Five patients with acute cholecystitis were studied. Because a thickened gallbladder wall was seen on sonography, all patients were examined preoperatively with incremental dynamic helical CT to exclude carcinoma of the gallbladder. CT findings were compared with results of sonography for five patients, MR imaging for two patients, and surgery for five patients.

Results: Transient focal increased attenuation of the liver adjacent to the gallbladder was seen in the early phase of incremental dynamic CT in five patients and extended into the medial segment anterior to the porta hepatis. The areas showing increased attenuation adjacent to the gallbladder had a curvilinear shape around the gallbladder. No hepatic masses were seen on sonograms, on MR images, or at surgery.

Conclusion: Transient focal increased attenuation of the liver may occur on CT scans in patients with acute cholecystitis. The increased attenuation associated with acute cholecystitis has a typical location and pattern. This finding is probably attributable to hepatic arterial hyperemia and to early venous drainage caused by the adjacent inflamed gallbladder. This finding should be differentiated from hypervascular hepatic tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Cholecystitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Ultrasonography