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Pyogenic liver abscess
Alternative namesLiver abscess; Bacterial liver abscess
DefinitionA pus-filled cavity within the liver.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There are many potential causes of liver abscesses. They can be caused by an abdominal infection such as appendicitis , diverticulitis , or a perforated bowel; an infection in the blood; an infection of the biliary (liver secretion) tract; or trauma where a bruised liver becomes infected.
The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses are Escherichia coli , Klebsiella , Enterococcus , staph and strep, and Bacteroides .
Signs and tests
TreatmentThe treatment usually consists of surgical or percutaneous (through the skin, with a needle) drainage of the abscess . This is accompanied by prolonged antibiotic therapy. Sometimes antibiotics alone can cure the infection.
Expectations (prognosis)The death rate is 10-30% in treated patients, and it is higher in those with multiple abscesses.
ComplicationsLife-threatening sepsis can develop.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if any symptoms of this disorder develop.
PreventionPrompt treatment of abdominal and other infections may reduce the risk of developing a liver abscess. Many cases are not preventable.
Update Date: 11/9/2002Eleftherios Mylonakis, M.D., Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT