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Am J Surg. 2001 Feb;181(2):177-86.

Clinical course, treatment, and multivariate analysis of risk factors for pyogenic liver abscess.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, San Agustin Hospital, Avilés, Spain.



Pyogenic liver abscess is a threatening condition. The purpose of this study was to audit the clinical behavior and to analyze the risk factors.


One hundred and thirty-three patients treated in five hospitals during the years 1985 to 1997 were studied. By univariate and multivariate analysis we tried to identify any risk factor associated with complicated clinical course and complicated-related clinical course, and with hospital mortality.


Sixty-three patients (47%) were subjected to a percutaneous drainage, 45 (34%) were treated by open surgical drainage, and the remaining 25 cases (19%) received antibiotic therapy alone. Prognostic variables for a complicated clinical course were the presence of shock, low hemoglobin level, elevated prothrombin time, and polymicrobial infection. Shock, distress, low hemoglobin level, increased creatinine, and positive blood culture were significant predictors of a complicated-related clinical course. Concerning mortality, a biliary origin, shock, multiple abscesses, low hemoglobin level, and high concentration of blood urea nitrogen were independent predictors.


Treatment of pyogenic liver abscesses should be tailored to each patient, however, the majority of them can be successfully treated with antibiotics and percutaneous methods. Those with signs of organ failure or septicemia should preferably be managed in the intensive care unit.

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