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Pyogenic liver abscess

Definition

Pyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled area in the liver.

Alternative Names

Liver abscess; Bacterial liver abscess

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

There are many potential causes of liver abscesses, including:

The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses are:

  • Bacteroides
  • Enterococcus
  • Streptococcus

In most cases, more than one type of bacteria is found.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

Tests may include:

Treatment

Treatment usually consists of placing a tube through the skin to drain the abscess. Less often, surgery is required. You will also receive antibiotics for about 4 - 6 weeks. Sometimes, antibiotics alone can cure the infection.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

This condition can be life threatening some patients. The risk for death is higher in people who have many liver abscesses.

Complications

Life-threatening sepsis can develop.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have:

  • Any symptoms of this disorder
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • or Confusion
  • Persistent high fever
  • Other new symptoms during or after treatment

Prevention

Prompt treatment of abdominal and other infections may reduce the risk of developing a liver abscess. Many cases are not preventable.

References

Reddy KR. Bacterial, parasitic, fungal and granulomatous liver diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. . 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 360.

Sifri CD, Madoff LC. Infections of the liver and biliary system. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. . 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone;2009:chap 72.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.