Logo of healthcare spanishColon, gallbladder & appendicitis

Angle down

Colon, gallbladder, and appendicitis

In this issue

Learning on the go!

The goal of this newsletter is to provide you with enough information to be useful, but not more than can be learned within the busy schedule of a health care worker. You’ll find anatomy charts, additional vocabulary, occasional feedback from subscribers, and more! Feel free to read them now and save them for later use such as with a patient or as a study guide for coursework.

fecalith obstructing appendix lumen


  • Colon ascendente
  • Colon transverso
  • Colon descendente
  • Intestino delgado
  • Colon sigmoideo
  • Íleo
  • Ciego
  • Recto
  • Apéndice vermiforme
  • Fecalito obstruyendo la luz apendicular
  • Ascending colon
  • Transverse colon
  • Descending colon
  • Small intestine
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Ileum
  • Cecum
  • Rectum
  • Vermiform appendix
  • Fecalith obstructing appendix lumen

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix.

It’s caused by a blockage of the lumen of the appendix, most commonly by a calcified “stone” made of feces called a fecalith, inflamed lymphoid tissue, parasites, gallstones or tumors.

This blockage leads to increased pressures within the appendix, decreased blood flow to the tissues, and bacterial growth inside, causing inflammation.

If this process is left untreated, the appendix may burst, releasing bacteria into the abdominal cavity, leading to severe abdominal pain and increased complications.

Apendicitis es la inflamación del apéndice.

Es causado por una obstrucción de la luz del apéndice, comúnmente por una “piedra” calcificada de heces llamada fecalito, tejido linfático inflamado, parásitos, cálculos biliares o tumores.

Esta obstrucción conduce a un aumento de la presión dentro del apéndice, una disminución del flujo sanguíneo a sus tejidos, y crecimiento bacteriano en su interior, causando inflamación.

Si este proceso no es tratado, el apéndice puede estallar, liberando bacterias en la cavidad abdominal, lo que lleva a un fuerte dolor abdominal y aumento de las complicaciones.

mesogastrium and iliac fossa drawing

Acute appendicitis commonly presents with abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite.

The pain usually begins as vague and located around the umbilicus. As the inflammation progresses, the pain migrates to the right iliac fossa.

Deep tenderness at McBurney’s point is a very common sign of acute appendicitis.

McBurney’s point is found over the right side of the abdomen and is one-third of the distance from the anterior superior iliac spine to the umbilicus (navel).

La apendicitis aguda presenta comúnmente con dolor abdominal, fiebre, náuseas, vómitos y pérdida de apetito.

El dolor generalmente comienza como un dolor vago localizado alrededor del ombligo. A medida que la inflamación progresa, el dolor migra hacia la fosa ilíaca derecha.

Sensibilidad en el punto de McBurney es un signo muy común de la apendicitis aguda.

El punto de McBurney se encuentra en el lado derecho del abdomen a un tercio de la distancia desde la espina ilíaca anterosuperior al ombligo.

drawing of duodenum and pancreas

Colon and gallbladder

  • Liver
  • Common hepatic duct
  • Cystic duct
  • Common bile duct
  • Gallbladder
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatic duct
  • Sphincter of Oddi
  • Major duodenal papilla, ampulla of Vater
  • Duodenum portion of the small intestine
  • Duodenum portion of the small intestine
  • Cholelithiasis: lithiasis (stone formation) in the biliary ducts, especially the gallbladder
  • Biliary colic: the pain caused by the distension of the gallbladder that occurs when usually a gallstone obstructs the cystic duct
  • Choledocholithiasis: the presence of gallstones in the common bile duct.
  • Cholecystitis: is an inflammation or infection of the gallbladder.
  • Ascending cholangitis or acute cholangitis: an inflammation and/or infection of the bile duct usually linked to the obstruction of the common bile duct.
  • Hígado
  • Conducto hepático común
  • Conducto cístico
  • Conducto biliar común o Colédoco
  • Vesícula biliar
  • Páncreas
  • Conducto pancreático
  • Esfínter de Oddi
  • Papila duodenal mayor, ampolla de Vater
  • Porción duodenal del intestino delgado
  • Cálculos biliares
  • Colelitiasis o litiasis biliar: litiasiso (la formación de cálculos) en la vías biliares, especialmente en la vesícula biliar.
  • Cólico biliar: el dolor causado por la distensión de la vesícula biliar que ocurre cuando generalmente un cálculo obstruye el conducto cístico.
  • Coledocolititasis: la presencia de cálculos en la vía biliar principal.
  • Colecistitis: una inflamación de la pared o infección de la vesícula biliar.
  • Colangitis ascendente o colangitis aguda: una inflamación y/o infección de los conductos hepáticos y biliares comunes asociados con la obstrucción del conducto biliar común.

drawing of gallbladder with stones

inflammed gallbladder with stones

While cholelithiasis and choledocholithiasis is the mere presence of gallstones in the bile ducts, biliary colic is the pain usually caused by the presence of these gallstones. Specifically when the gallbladder contracts while the cystic duct is obstructed. The pain is often sharp, intermittent, located in the right upper quadrant and associated with nausea or indigestion symptoms.

Because of this obstruction and the presence of bacteria in the bile, the walls of the gallbladder become irritated, inflamed and often develop an infection called cholecystitis. Cholecystitis is identified by the classic Murphy’s sign, which is pain of abrupt onset when in the cystic point is pressed, a point located in the costal margin and passing through the right hemiclavicular line.

Mientras que la colelititasis y coledocolitiasis es la simple presencia de cálculos biliares en las vías biliares, el cólico biliar es el dolor normalmente causado por la presencia de estos cálculos biliares. Específicamente cuando se contrae la vesicular biliar al estar el conducto cístico obstruido. El dolor suele ser punzante, intermitente, localizado en el hipocondrio derecho y asociado a nauseas o síntomas de indigestión.

Debido a esta obstrucción y la presencia de bacterias en la bilis, las paredes de la vesicular biliar se irritan, inflaman y se suele desarrollar una infección llamada colecistitis. La colecistitis es identificada por el clásico signo de Murphy, el cual es dolor de aparición abrupta al presionar en el punto cístico, punto localizado en el reborde costal y que pasa por la línea hemiclavicular derecha.

Download this sheet as a PDF

For quick reference in the ward.

Click here for the apppendicitis PDF (PDF, 1mb)

Click here for the gallbladder PDF (PDF, 1mb)

Help others by providing feedback

Part of Health Care Spanish’s mission is to create a useful resource for health care workers. However, there is only so much that can be done without feedback from you. Email questions or suggestions to . Tell us if there is a topic you want us to cover or a resource we can add to the site.

Have an idea for a new CME course related to healthcare Spanish? Let us know!

Written by on January 4, 2016