Liver & intrahepatic bile ducts

Infectious nonviral

Pyogenic abscess

Last author update: 1 May 2012
Last staff update: 24 September 2020

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Pyogenic abscess[TI] liver

Komal Arora, M.D.
Page views in 2022: 2,639
Page views in 2023 to date: 2,090
Cite this page: Arora K. Pyogenic abscess. website. Accessed September 22nd, 2023.
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
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02