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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
    • There are many potential causes of liver abscesses, including:

      The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses are:

      • Escherichia coli
      • Bacteroides
      • Enterococcus
      • Klebsiella pneumoniae
      • Staphylococcus aureus
      • Streptococcus

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

  • Symptoms
  • Exams and Tests
  • 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.

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

  • Possible Complications
    • Life-threatening sepsis can develop.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
  • Prevention
    • Prompt treatment of abdominal and other infections may reduce the risk of developing a liver abscess, but most cases are not preventable.

  • References
    • Reddy KR. Bacterial, parasitic, fungal and granulomatous liver diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 360.

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