Pyogenic liver abscess

Definition

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

Causes

There are many possible causes of liver abscesses, including:

A number of common bacteria may cause liver abscesses. In most cases, more than one type of bacteria is found.

Symptoms

Symptoms of liver abscess may include:

Exams and Tests

Tests may include:

Treatment

Treatment usually consists of placing a tube through the skin into the liver to drain the abscess. Less often, surgery is needed. You will also receive antibiotics for about 4 to 6 weeks. Sometimes, antibiotics alone can cure the infection.

Outlook (Prognosis)

This condition can be life threatening. The risk for death is higher in people who have many liver abscesses.

Possible Complications

Life-threatening sepsis can develop. Sepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe inflammatory response to bacteria or other germs.

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.


Review Date: 9/22/2018
Reviewed By: 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, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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