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Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2004 Aug;6(4):273-9.

Pyogenic and amebic liver abscesses.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Naval Medical Center San Diego, 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, San Diego, CA 92134, USA. jekurland@NMCSD.med.navy.mil


Pyogenic and amebic liver abscesses are the two most common hepatic abscesses. Amebic abscesses are more common in areas where Entamoeba histolytica is endemic, whereas pyogenic abscesses are more common in developed countries. Pyogenic abscess severity is dependent on the bacterial source and the underlying condition of the patient. Amebic liver abscess is more prevalent in individuals with suppressed cell-mediated immunity, men, and younger people. The right lobe of the liver is the most likely site of infection in both types of hepatic abscess. Patients usually present with a combination of fever, right-upper-quadrant abdominal pain, and hepatomegaly. Jaundice is more common in the pyogenic abscess. The diagnosis is often delayed and is usually made through a combination of radiologic imaging and microbiologic, serologic, and percutaneous techniques. Treatment involves antibiotics along with percutaneous drainage or surgery.

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