A distended gallbladder can be a symptom of acute acalculous gallbladder disease. This is a severe infection that strikes the gallbladder. If left untreated, this condition can lead to total blockage in the bile ducts, perforation of the gallbladder and even gangrene, as stated by Everyday Health.
Patients who suffer from acute acalculous gallbladder disease develop thickening and distention in the gallbladder, and the organ wall also inflames quickly. Patient symptoms include pain in the right upper abdomen that is intermittent and accompanied by nausea. Symptoms are particularly likely after a meal with greasy and fatty foods, notes Everyday Health.
When patients visit the doctor with these symptoms, a common test is an ultrasound to look for gallstones. When those are not present, a blood test checks for the bacteria that mark acute acalculous gallbladder disease as a result of infection. The most common treatment plan is antibiotics through an IV, as pills aren't strong enough to fight this sort of infection. Sometimes the doctor also needs to drain bile from the gallbladder. Removal of the gallbladder is extremely rare for this condition. Allowing this infection to go without treatment can lead to spreading of infection and gangrene, as the gallbladder can develop a hole that allows bile to leak into the abdominal cavity, according to Everyday Health.