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Digestive system
Digestive system


Pyogenic abscess
Pyogenic abscess


Digestive system organs
Digestive system organs


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
  • Escherichia coli
  • Klebsiella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus

In most cases, more than one bacteria is found.



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

Tests may include:



Treatment:

Treatment usually consists of surgery or going through the skin with a needle or tube (percutaneous) to drain the abscess. Along with this procedure, you will receive long-term antibiotic therapy (usually 4 - 6 weeks). Sometimes antibiotics alone can cure the infection.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Even with treatment this condition can be life-threatening in 10-30% of patients. The risk is higher in people who have many abscesses.



Complications:

Life-threatening sepsis can develop.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have:



Prevention:

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



References:

Chung RT, Friedman LS. Bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections of the liver, including liver abscess. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006: chap 79.




Review Date: 9/17/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M Vyas, PhD, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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