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Pyogenic liver abscess

Pyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled area in the liver.

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

Tests may include:

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

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, but most cases are not preventable.

Alternative Names

Liver abscess; Bacterial liver abscess

References

Reddy KR. Bacterial, parasitic, fungal and granulomatous liver diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Goldman's Cecil Medicine

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

Update Date 8/31/2014

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