Pyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled area in the liver.
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 liver secretion (biliary) tract
- Recent endoscopy of the biliary system
- Trauma that damages the liver
The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses are:
In most cases, more than one bacteria is found.
- Chalk-colored stool
- Dark urine
Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting
- Pain in right upper abdomen (more common) or throughout the abdomen (less common)
Unintentional weight loss
- Yellow skin (jaundice)
Exams and Tests
Tests may include:
Abdominal CT scan
Blood culture for bacteria
- Liver enzymes (liver function tests) and bilirubin
White blood cell count
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.
Even with treatment this condition can be life-threatening in 10 - 30% of patients. The risk is higher in people who have many abscesses.
Life-threatening sepsis can develop.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have:
- Any symptoms of this disorder
- Severe abdominal pain
Confusion or decreased consciousness
- Persistent high fever
- Other new symptoms during or after treatment
Prompt treatment of abdominal and other infections may reduce the risk of developing a liver abscess. Many cases are not preventable.
Liver abscess; Bacterial liver abscess
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