Hepatic abscess

World J Surg. 1991 Mar-Apr;15(2):162-9. doi: 10.1007/BF01659049.


Hepatic abscess--amebic or pyogenic--can be diagnosed with great accuracy by either ultrasonography or computed tomographic (CT) scanning. Ultrasound is the modality of choice and will detect almost 100% of abscesses. Confirmation of a diagnosis of amebic liver abscess is made by the indirect hemagglutination test that should be positive in almost 100% of cases. Cultures of pus from the abscess and from the blood must be obtained in cases of pyogenic liver abscess. A positive culture of pus from the abscess has been achieved in 90% of cases. Ultrasound or CT guidance is utilized in aspiration of a hepatic abscess. In the treatment of an amebic liver abscess, metronidazole is the amebicide of choice. Open drainage is contraindicated. For cases that fail to respond to therapy with amebicides, closed drainage guided by CT or ultrasound is performed. Secondary bacterial infection of an amebic liver abscess is an extremely rare event. The identification and determination of the antibiotic sensitivity of organisms responsible for pyogenic liver abscess is a crucially important step. Unless a celiotomy is necessary to correct an intraabdominal process or the abscess is extremely large, the initial treatment of pyogenic liver abscess is a 2 week course of appropriate antibiotics followed by a 1 month course of oral antibiotics. The majority of pyogenic liver abscesses will respond to such treatment. If drainage of a pyogenic abscess is required, the preferable technique is with a percutaneous CT- or ultrasound-directed catheter.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Abscess / diagnosis*
  • Liver Abscess / drug therapy
  • Liver Abscess / surgery
  • Liver Abscess, Amebic / diagnosis*
  • Liver Abscess, Amebic / drug therapy
  • Liver Abscess, Amebic / surgery
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Metronidazole