Pyogenic liver abscess
Pyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled area in the liver.
Liver abscess; Bacterial liver abscess
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There are many potential causes of liver abscesses, including:
- Abdominal infection such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, or a perforated bowel
- Infection in the blood
- Infection of the bile draining tubes
- Recent endoscopy of the bile draining tubes
- Trauma that damages the liver
The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses are:
- Escherichia coli
In most cases, more than one type of bacteria is found.
Signs and tests
Tests may include:
Treatment usually consists of surgery or going through the skin with a needle or tube to drain the abscess. You will also receive antibiotics for about 4 - 6 weeks. Sometimes antibiotics alone can cure the infection.
This condition can be life threatening some patients. The risk for death is higher in people who have many liver abscesses.
Life-threatening sepsis can develop.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have:
Prompt treatment of abdominal and other infections may reduce the risk of developing a liver abscess. Many cases are not preventable.
Neuschwander-Tetri BA. Bacterial, parasitic, fungal and granulomatous liver diseases. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 155.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.