Gall Stone disease during COVID 19 Pandemic

  • Gall stone disease is a condition that occurs when stone formation occurs inside the gall bladder.
  • Gall bladder is a small organ present on the right upper portion of abdomen, just beneath and attached to the liver.
  • Normally its function is to store and concentrate bile (a digestive fluid that is produced by liver) and release it when required by the body.
  • Sometimes, due to various causes, bile may form stones that may be of variable size and/ or consistency.
  • When these stones cause obstruction to outflow of stored bile inside gall bladder, it causes distension of gall bladder. This leads to pain and other discomfort/ complaints reported by patients. It can lead to further more complications if not intervened or treated in time.
  • In last one year, the most common surgery performed by the majority of surgeons across India is of gallstone disease.
  • Normally it’s a planned surgery and requires admission in day care or one day of hospitalization.
  • Due to the present COVID scenario, people with even severe pain are avoiding visits to the hospital leading to a large number of patients presenting to us in complicated condition. It can lead to prolonged hospitalization, ICU stay and can also be fatal at times.
  • It is therefore important for the general public to understand importance of getting consultation in time and avoid unnecessary complications.

What complaints will I have due to gall bladder stones?

Typical complaints can be in form of pain in upper part or right side of abdomen that can move to back, sensation of vomiting or vomiting, indigestion, bloating sensation especially after heavy or fatty meals. Sometimes, typically in these COVID times a large number of people are presenting in emergency with complications. It can be in form of
severe abdominal pain moving to back, fever and/ or jaundice to name a few.

When should I consult a doctor?

Whenever someone experiences the above mentioned complaints, a surgeon should be consulted without delay.

Can I go for Tele or Video consultation?

Yes, this can be the primary form of consultation in current scenario, but if your surgeon advises for OPD visit, don’t ignore it.

What will happen if I don’t visit hospital?

it may be possible that you may improve just with the medication advised but there is also a possibility that you may land up in complication.

What will be the course if I visit the hospital?

After the surgeon examines you and does the relevant investigations, he will let you know whether you need hospitalization or can be treated at home with the advised medication.

How safe it is to undergo surgery in these COVID times?

It is as safe as it used to before this pandemic. In addition to that, there is sufficient data to suggest that if the advice is ignored, it can lead to complications.

Dr. Vivek Bindal

Dr. Vivek Bindal is a pioneer surgeon in the field of Robotic and Bariatric Surgery in South East Asia. He has one of the largest series of robotic bariatric procedures, has published extensively and is routinely invited as an expert in this field across the world.