- Health Library
- Research a Disease or Condition
- Lookup a Symptom
- Learn About a Test
- Prepare for a Surgery or Procedure
- What to do After Being Discharged
- Self-Care Instructions
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Nutrition, Vitamins & Special Diets
|•||Division of Infectious Disease at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital|
|•||Find A Physician|
|•||Subscribe to our Health-e-News|
Pyogenic liver abscess
Pyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled area in the liver.
Liver abscess; Bacterial liver abscess
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 bile draining tubes
- Recent endoscopy of the bile draining tubes
- Trauma that damages the liver
The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses are:
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Staphylococcus aureus
In most cases, more than one type of bacteria is found.
Exams and Tests
Tests may include:
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.
This condition can be life threatening some patients. The risk for death is higher in people who have many liver abscesses.
Life-threatening sepsis can develop.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have:
Prompt treatment of abdominal and other infections may reduce the risk of developing a liver abscess. Many cases are not preventable.
Reddy KR. Bacterial, parasitic, fungal and granulomatous liver diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 360.
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. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone;2009:chap 72.
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. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.