Avicii Hospitalized, to Undergo Gall Bladder Surgery

“Wake Me Up” superstar DJ Avicii is waking up in a Miami hospital.

Avicii (born Tim Bergling)  had to make a last minute cancellation of a Miami concert yesterday when he developed severe abdominal pain. He was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed as having a “blocked gallbladder.” Although he was discharged from the hospital, the pain returned and he was re-hospitalized.

As Avicii himself posted on Facebook:

“My fans know that I have had issues in the past with my stomach and pancreatitis… I woke up on Wednesday morning with serious pain but I flew to Miami anyway, hoping that it would go away. The pain was still there when I landed so I went straight to hospital. I was treated and left later that night.

Unfortunately, the pain came back yesterday afternoon and I returned to the hospital where they admitted me to stay overnight.

My doctors have decided to operate and remove my gall bladder tomorrow morning.

It’s a routine procedure and all going well, I expect to be fully recovered and back on my feet in time for my US True Tour.

Thanks for your concern everyone, it means a lot to me!”

Avicii has had two episodes of acute pancreatitis.  The first, in late 2012,  landed him in a New York hospital for 11 days, the second, in March 2013, while performing in Australia. In interviews with Rolling Stone and GQ, the Swedish 24-year-old attributes the problem to an overcrowded schedule (300 dates/year) paired with over-partying and binge drinking:

“You are traveling around, you live in a suitcase, you get to this place, there’s free alcohol everywhere—it’s sort of weird if you don’t drink.”

“I just got into a habit, because you rely on that encouragement and self-confidence you get from alcohol, and then you get dependent on it.”

The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones that cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct. Heavy alcohol use is also a common cause. Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol.

Although Bergling told Rolling Stone that he had stopped drinking a year ago, he put off having some gallbladder surgery because of his busy schedule.

12 Things to Know about the Gallbladder and Gallstones

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1.  Gallstones  are small hard deposits that form in the gallbladder.   The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac located just below the liver in the right upper portion of the abdomen.

2.  The gallbladder is a storage sac that holds bile between meals. Bile is a thick yellow-green digestive fluid which consists primarily of cholesterol, bile acids (also called bile salts), and bilirubin (a breakdown product of red blood cells). It also contains water and body salts (potassium and sodium). It’s function is to break down fats into fatty acids which can be absorbed by the body.

3.  The two main types of gallstones (medically referred to as cholelithiasis) are cholesterol stones and pigment (or bile) stones .

Cholesterol stones

Cholesterol stones

4.  Cholesterol stones are usually yellow-green and are made primarily of hardened cholesterol. They account for about 80 percent of gallstones.

gallstones bilirubin

Pigment stones

5.  Pigment stones are small, dark stones made of bilirubin.

6.  The gallbladder can develop just one large stone, hundreds of tiny stones, or a combination of the two. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.

7. Scientists believe cholesterol stones form when bile contains too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or not enough bile salts, or when the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough.The reason these imbalances occur is not known.

8.  Gallstones, in themselves, do not cause any symptoms.

9.  It is only when a gallstone moves into any of the bile duct and obstructs it that symptoms occur.

10.  Symptoms include the sudden onset of pain which increases over time, and can last 30 minutes to a few hours. It can be located in the right upper part of the abdomen, between the shoulder blades, or below the right shoulder. This is often referred to as a gallbladder “attack”.

11.  Treatment is not necessary for asymptomatic gallstones, however, if a patient is having frequent gallbladder attacks, then treatment consists of removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy).

12.  In the past this was done by an open surgical procedure, but now it is most frequently done by laparoscopic surgery (using small incisions in the abdomen), which decreases recovery time and has a lower incidence of complications.

 

 

 

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Li

    November 12, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Gallbladder disease is a fairly common health issue impacting hundreds of thousands of Americans, with one source estimating roughly 700,000 gallbladder removal surgeries being performed annually in the United States. When it comes to obtaining a good understanding of modern medicine and health, it is important to know about these common complications and the disruptive effects they have on patients. This is important because these common issues, like gallstones, are more likely to impact any single American. For instance, Mr. Bergling’s (Avicii’s) lifestyle is not unlike those of many young Americans’, filled with heavy alcohol use. Such an understanding of common issues can be disseminated using television shows. However, medical edutainment television shows sometimes opt not to feature these common diseases in favor of much more rare and exciting cases, in order to increase the entertainment value of the episode. Although these episodes may be more entertaining, the educational value suffers.
    I recently watched the last episode of Boston Med, an ABC documentary series that aims to provide a realistic view of some of the nation’s leading hospitals. While some of the episodes include very common medical issues, the season finale is romanticized, and it focuses almost entirely on a very unusual and exciting case: a face transplant. This episode provides a somewhat realistic representation of medicine, because it features a real surgeon, a real donor patient and his wife, and a real recipient patient and his family. However, this representation of medicine is actually not entirely realistic because it features such an exotic case. It is a presentation of a medical anomaly that does not reflect the vast majority of medical cases in the United States. As a result the average American gleans little actionable knowledge from this particular episode.
    Edutainment shows can best fulfill their purpose by including very common conditions, for instance by dedicating an episode to gallbladder diseases. Such an episode could highlight a patient’s heavy drinking and partying lifestyle and how it results in sudden and excruciating pain focused around his upper-right abdomen. The episode can then include an emergency physician, who must perform a series of exams and tests to rule out other, possibly more serious, conditions. Finally, the episode can then feature the patient’s laparoscopic surgery and recovery, and how it impacts his personal and professional life. Moreover, presenting any possible mental or emotional effects of the emergency and resulting treatment can leave a memorable impact on viewers. While such an episode may not hold the dramatic elements of a face transplant, it can better educate and serve its audience by providing a more realistic representation that captures a larger proportion of medical cases that are applicable to viewers.

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