Liver abscess (collection of pus)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Liver abscess (collection of pus) (Disease)


An abscess is a collection of pus (a thick fluid of blood, dead tissue and germs). Abscesses on the liver are caused by the presence of bacterial, parasitic, or fungal organisms spread from the digestive tract.

A cyst is similar to an abscess but without the pus. There are a number of different types of cysts that may be found on the liver including so-called ‘simple’ cysts and multiple cysts linked to polycystic liver disease (PCLD). Polycystic cysts and simple cysts are congenital.

Causes and Risk factors

There are many potential causes of liver abscesses, including: abdominal infection such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, or a perforated bowel, infection in the blood, infection of the bile draining tubes, recent endoscopy of the bile draining tubes, trauma that damages the liver.

The most common bacteria that cause liver abscesses include: bacteroides, enterococcus, escherichia coli, klebsiella, staphylococcus, streptococcus.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Blood culture and culture of the abscess fluid will are usually undertake as to identify the organism. A CT scan, MR scan and/or ultrasound will be done to identify the abscess. An aspiration of the abscess fluid may be also done.

The treatment depends on the size and location of the abscess. Most abscesses need to be drained and this is performed either through the skin or surgically. Antibiotics will also be prescribed, but it is not likely they will clear the infection alone. ...