Author(s): Mohsen AH, Green ST, Read RC, McKendrick MW
Abstract Share this page
Abstract BACKGROUND: The epidemiology and management of liver abscess (LA) have evolved over time. AIM: To examine our experience over 10 years in a UK teaching centre. DESIGN: Retrospective review of patient records. METHODS: We reviewed the records of all patients aged >16 years discharged from Royal Hallamshire Hospital with a diagnosis of LA between April 1988 and December 1999. RESULTS: There were 69 patients with LA (65 pyogenic, 4 amoebic), giving a crude annual incidence rate of 2.3/100,000/year (18.15/100,000 hospital admissions). Median age was 64 years. Single lesions were found in 41 patients, multiple lesions in 28. Pre-admission, patients were symptomatic for a median 14 days, with the most common symptoms and signs being fever and abdominal pain/tenderness. Pathogens were identified in 74\% and predisposing aetiology in 92\% of those undergoing investigation. Spread of infection to the liver via the portal venous system was the commonest route of infection (46\%), most frequently in patients aged >/=60 years (p=0.019). Abdominal ultrasound (US) was diagnostic for LA in >90\% of cases. Treatment with anti-microbial therapy plus interventional radiology was optimal. The case fatality rate was 12.3\%, mainly from associated underlying pathology. DISCUSSION: LA is commonly associated with underlying gastrointestinal pathology. Seeking out this underlying aetiology is an integral part of management. We recommend US as the first-line diagnostic tool with guided intervention plus antibiotic(s) as first-line treatment. Prognosis depends chiefly on the underlying pathology.
This article was published in QJM
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports