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Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas

Print version ISSN 1130-0108


COSME, A. et al. Pyogenic versus amoebic liver abscesses: A comparative clinical study in a series of 58 patients. Rev. esp. enferm. dig. [online]. 2010, vol.102, n.2, pp.90-95. ISSN 1130-0108.

Objective: to compare the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of patients with pyogenic liver abscess (PLA) and with amebic liver abscess (AHA) in order to determine the potential factors that may help improve diagnosis and treatment for this disease. Material and method: a retrospective study of clinical histories of 45 patients with PLA and 13 with ALA, diagnosed between 1985 and 2005 in Donostia Hospital in San Sebastián. Results: among the 45 patients with PLA (30 men and 15 women, with a mean age of 61 years and 11 months), more than a half were cholangitic (13 cases) or were of unknown origin (15 cases). In 10 patients, diabetes was considered to be a predisposing condition. Increased ESR (> 30), leukocytosis (> 12,000), fever and abdominal pain were observed in 95.5%, 86.7%, 82.8% and 68.9%, respectively. Twenty-five patients had single abscesses. Abscess and blood cultures were positive in 77.1% and 50% of cases, respectively (44.4% with polymicrobial infection). E. coli and S. milleri were the most commonly found germs. A percutaneous drainage was performed on 22 patients. Mean hospital stay was 27 days, and overall mortality, including that related to concomitant conditions, was 7 of 45 cases. Of the 13 cases of ALA (7 men and 6 women, with mean age of 42,9 years), 2 were locally acquired. Increased AF and GGTP (> 2N), fever, leukocytosis and ESR (> 30) were observed in 92.3, 77, 70 and 61.5% of cases, respectively. There were single abscesses in 10 patients and all except one were located in the right lobe. The serological test for E. histolytica (IFF ≥ 1/256) was positive in 100% of cases. A percutaneous drainage was carried out on 6 patients. Mean hospital stay was 18 days and two patients died. Conclusions: In our series, the clinical parameters suggesting pyogenic origin were: age 50 or older, male gender, diabetes, moderately elevated bilirubin and transaminases. In amoebic cases the associated features were being aged 45 or younger, diarrhoea, and presence of a single abscess in the right lobe. Parasitism by E. histolytica must be considered in the differential diagnosis of liver abscesses, even with no epidemiological clinical history of travel and/or immigration.

Keywords : Liver abscess; Pyogenic; Amoebic; Comparison.

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