Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts - nontumor
Infectious (nonviral) disorders
Pyogenic abscess

Author: Komal Arora, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 3 November 2017, last major update May 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Pyogenic abscess[TI] liver

Cite this page: Arora, K. Pyogenic abscess. website. Accessed July 18th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Uncommon, associated with immunodeficiency
  • Usually older patients due to bacteria in biliary tract (30 - 70%), HIV+ patients with tuberculosis; also other local or systemic infections
  • 40% have no known source of infection
  • Bacteria detected by aspiration and culture in 85 - 100% of cases; usually E. coli (35 - 45%) but often anaerobes or polymicrobial
  • Yersinia enterocolitica is associated with iron overload (hemochromatosis)
  • Drainage, antibiotics; treat source of infection if known
  • Mortality dependant on abscess size (30 - 90% if large), number of abscesses, severity of underlying illness, patient age
Gross description
  • Single or multiple cavities, usually in right lobe, filled with foul smelling, creamy yellow, necrotic material
  • May have fibrous capsule
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Necrotic material with numerous neutrophils
  • Adjacent hepatocytes appear reactive
Additional references