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Exp Clin Transplant. 2009 Dec;7(4):256-60.

Hepatic abscesses after liver transplant: 1997-2008.

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  • 1Shiraz Transplant Center, Namazee Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran.



Infectious complications (such as liver abscesses) remain one of the major causes of posttransplant morbidity and mortality. Management may be problematic and is often based on experience with hepatic abscess in nontransplant patients. We reviewed our experience with hepatic abscess in liver transplant recipients to assess their presentation, clinical features, treatment, and outcome.


A retrospective review of all liver transplant in Shiraz transplant center from September 1997 through September 2008 was performed. Hepatic abscess was defined as a parenchymal hepatic lesion consistent with abscess (as described by a radiologist), positive liver or concurrent blood cultures, or both (within 24 hours), and compatible clinical findings.


Of 560 liver recipients, we identified 5 patients (23-42 y) who had experienced 7 episodes of hepatic abscess, 30-240 days after transplant. All patients had received liver from deceased donors. Biliary reconstruction was done by duct-to-duct anastomosis in 4 and hepatico-jejunostomy in 1 case. Pretransplant diagnoses included hepatitis B cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis (2 cases), Caroli disease, and cryptogenic cirrhosis. Liver aspirates showed E. coli in 4 cases, and Aspergillus in 1 case. The main predisposing factor was bile-to-duct anastomosis stricture in 3, diabetes mellitus in 2, and hepatic artery thrombosis in 1 of the patients. Two patients died owing to liver and multiorgan failure, despite percutaneous and operative drainage with broad spectrum antibiotics and antifungals.


Hepatic abscess, a rare complication after liver transplant, was associated with hepatic artery thrombosis, biliary anastomosis stricture, and diabetes mellitus. Mortality was higher than in patients who had not undergone transplant. Prolonged antibiotic therapy and drainage are required to improve the outcome in these patients.

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