Reference Index - Disease & Conditions

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Digestive system
Digestive system


Pyogenic abscess
Pyogenic abscess


Digestive system organs
Digestive system organs


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
  • Escherichia coli
  • Klebsiella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus

In most cases, more than one type of 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 to drain the abscess. 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:



Prevention:

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



References:

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.




Review Date: 9/15/2010
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.

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