Ascending cholangitis is caused by bacterial infection of the biliary tract/ducts, typically by organisms that ascend from the intestine (hence the "ascending").
Ascending cholangitis typically occurs in the setting of an obstruction of the biliary tract. As bacteria from the GI tract traverse the sphincter of Oddi, even in small numbers, the presence of a foreign object or blockage can act as a nidus for bacterial colonization and infection.
E. Coli is the bacterial species most commonly associated with ascending cholangitis.
Klebsiella is the second most commonly isolated bacteria associated with ascending cholangitis.
Enterobacter is the third most commonly isolated bacteria in cases of acute cholangitis.
Charcot's triad, consisting of jaundice, fever, and abdominal pain, is classically associated with ascending cholangitis.
Fever is one of the three signs/symptoms in Charcot's triad.
Jaundice is one of the three signs of Charcot's Triad.
Abdominal pain is one of the three components of Charcot's Triad.
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