Are you aware of a Liver Abscess?

Medpho April 27, 2023


From a blood infection to an abdominal disease or an abdominal injury that has recently occurred and has become infected, all can lead to a liver abscess. A liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver formed because of bacteria, fungi or parasites. Some of the most common bacterias responsible for liver abscesses include E Coli and staphylococcus.

By initiating early treatment of liver abscess, you could avert further complications. With time the infections spread further, impacting the hepatic vein, biliary tree and portal veins, which may result in multiple abscesses in the liver.

In this blog, you can learn more about Liver abscess types, symptoms, causes, liver abscess diagnosis and treatment.

Liver Abscess Types

Liver abscesses could be classified in various ways: By location in the liver. Almost 50% of solitary liver abscess occurs in the liver's right lobe, which has more blood supply than the left liver lobe or caudate lobe.

You can also classify the liver types as per their source. It could be categorized into three types: pyogenic liver abscess, amebic liver abscess and injury-induced liver abscess.

Pyogenic bacterial infection includes infections spread directly from nearby structures, such as the bile-draining tubes, the appendix or intestines. The bloodstream may carry a disease from distant body parts.

Amebic liver abscess is an intestinal infection, and the parasite can travel through the bloodstream to the liver in this infection type that originates in the intestines. In rare circumstances, other organisms or fungi can provoke a liver abscess.

Injury-induced liver abscess: There are many cases like stabbing or any road accident which is a traumatic condition, and such patients may also suffer from injury-induced liver abscess surgery, a diagnostic procedure or trauma to the liver may

Liver abscess Symptoms 

There are various symptoms of liver abscess which may include

  • Lower right chest pain
  • right upper abdomen pain
  • pain throughout the abdomen (less common)
  • dark urine.
  • Chills, night sweats and fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Unintended weight loss
  • difficulty breathing
  • right shoulder pain
  • lethargy

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Liver Abscess Causes 

Various reasons may end up in liver abscesses, including bacterial infection, parasitic infection, and liver injury.

Different infections may end up in a liver abscess, like when there is a bacterial infection in the bile-draining tubes. It may also occur in the abdomen when associated with appendicitis, diverticulitis, bloodstream infections, parasites etc. 

Liver abscess Diagnosis

The doctor may urge following blood and imaging test to determine the existence of a liver abscess.

  • Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of the abdomen
  • Blood test to inspect signs of infectious inflammation like raised serum white blood count and neutrophil level
  • Abdominal ultrasound can help to locate the abscess
  •  A CT scan for the measurement of abscess


Liver abscess Complications

When left untreated or unchecked in several liver cases, liver abscess complications can be severe, even life-threatening stances. You can help minimize your chances of serious complications by heeding the treatment plan you and your doctor designed especially for you.

The liver abscess can cause these difficulties :

  • acute respiratory pain
  • empyema, pus collection in the chest
  •  a decline in brain function because of infection
  • endocarditis
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • peritonitis, inflammation of the abdominal tissue
  • pleural effusion
  • sepsis
  • spread of infection

You could also read about fatty liver diet as this could help in minimizing complications associated with liver abscess.

Liver abscess treatment 

Depending on the severity of the liver abscess, treatment can be done by medications or surgery. The more severe the liver complications more are the chances of surgery being recommended by the physician.

However, surgery is recommended only in critical cases with more damage and when abscesses cannot be treated with medications.

The procedure is termed percutaneous abscess drainage. It involves an interventional radiologist who uses imaging guidance (CT, ultrasound or fluoroscopy). A thin needle is put into the abscess. It involves getting a sample of the infected fluid from the body part like the chest, abdomen or pelvis.

Finally, a small drainage catheter is left in place to drain the abscess fluid. The tube is kept in that spot for 5 to 7 days to drain the extra fluid. In certain circumstances, surgery is suggested to cut into the liver that cannot be treated by a percutaneous drainage procedure.

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