Bile duct obstruction is a blockage in the tubes that carry
Acute cholecystitis Choledocholithiasis Gallstones
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
When the bile ducts become blocked, bile builds up in the liver, and jaundice (yellow color of the skin) develops due to the increasing levels of bilirubin in the blood.
The possible causes of a blocked bile duct include:
- Cysts of the common bile duct
- Enlarged lymp nodes in the porta hepatis
- Inflammation of the bile ducts
- Trauma including injury from gallbladder surgery
- Tumors of the bile ducts or pancreas
- Other tumors that have spread to the
The risk factors include:
- History of gallstones,
chronic pancreatitis, or pancreatic cancer
- Injury to the abdominal area
- Recent biliary cancer (such as
bile duct cancer)
The blockage can also be caused by infections. This is more common in persons with weakened immune systems.
Review Date: 05/23/2010
Reviewed By: 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.