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West J Med. Feb 1985; 142(2): 203–207.
PMCID: PMC1305979

Amebiasis Presenting as Pleuropulmonary Disease


Seven patients with amebic liver abscess presenting as pleuropulmonary disease were admitted to hospital initially because of pulmonary symptoms and were found to have amebic liver disease. Three categories of pleuropulmonary involvement included reactive inflammation of the pleura or lung, rupture of a hepatic abscess into the pleural space and rupture of a hepatic abscess into the bronchial airways. The preferred medical treatment is with metronidazole, but rupture of hepatic amebic abscess into the pleural space requires drainage in addition to medical therapy. In contrast, rupture into the bronchus may provide spontaneous drainage so that only medical therapy is needed. Recovery from amebiasis in all three categories is generally complete. Morbidity and mortality increase with failure to correctly identify amebic infection of the liver as the underlying cause. Because, in new cases, no findings specifically suggest that pleuropulmonary disease is a complication of hepatic amebic abscess, this possibility needs to be considered, especially in persons who are at risk of having been infected with amebae.

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Selected References

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