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Int J Infect Dis. 2009 Jul;13(4):524-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2008.08.024. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Management of splenic abscess: report on 16 cases from a single center.

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Infectious and Tropical Diseases Division, IRCCS S. Matteo Foundation, University of Pavia, Via Taramelli 5, 27100 Pavia, Italy.



Splenic abscess is an uncommon disease, with a reported incidence of 0.14-0.7% in autoptic series. The best treatment option remains unclear. We report our experience of percutaneous drainage of splenic abscess under ultrasound (US) guidance.


From 1979 to 2005, 16 consecutive patients (12 male and four female; mean age 39.9 years, range 16-72 years) were diagnosed with splenic abscess by means of US, and were treated with medical therapy alone or combined with US-guided percutaneous aspiration or catheter drainage.


Ten of 16 patients had bacterial abscesses (including one case of tubercular abscess), two had an amebic abscess, and four had fungal abscesses. Seven of ten patients with bacterial abscesses were successfully treated with fine needle aspiration alone, one patient was successfully treated with fine needle aspiration for one abscess and catheter drainage for another, and one patient, who subsequently required a splenectomy for an abdominal trauma, successfully underwent percutaneous catheter drainage alone. Four patients with fungal lesions were treated with medical therapy alone, and two patients later required a splenectomy. One patient with a bacterial abscess due to endocarditis was treated with medical therapy alone, and his recovery was uneventful.


US-guided percutaneous aspiration of splenic abscesses is a safe and effective procedure. It can be used as a bridge to surgery in patients who are critically ill or have several comorbidities. Percutaneous aspiration may allow complete non-operative healing of splenic abscesses or temporize patients at risk for surgery.

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