Management of pyogenic liver abscess: a South Australian experience

Thomas McNeil, Santhosh Daniel, David L. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There have been declining mortality rates associated with pyogenic liver abscess (PLA) in recent decades due to improvements in percutaneous drainage techniques, access to imaging and improvements in supportive care. The aim of this study was to analyse the aetiology, management and outcome of PLA at a tertiary hospital in Adelaide. Methods: Data was collected retrospectively from 80 patients who were admitted with a PLA between 2011 and 2018. The data points covered demographic variables, presumed aetiology, microbiology results, abscess imaging characteristics, interventions, antibiotic treatment, complications and mortality. Results: The majority of patients were Caucasian (86%) and the most common predisposing conditions were biliary tract disease (39%), intra-abdominal infection (20%) and diabetes (18%). Escherichia coli (21%), Klebsiella species (18%), Streptococcus anginosus group (14%) and anaerobes (18%) were the most frequent pathogens isolated. Fifty-one percent of patients were bacteraemic. Percutaneous catheter insertion (45%) was the most common form of drainage followed by percutaneous aspiration (13%), surgery (11%) and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (6%), while 25% of patients did not undergo any form of drainage. Twenty-four patients (30%) suffered a complication with the highest proportion occurring in the medically managed group. The overall mortality rate was 9% with only 1% mortality rate attributable to PLA. Conclusion: This study demonstrates a continued preference for percutaneous drainage techniques over surgery in the management of PLA. A significant proportion of patients did not undergo abscess drainage and the risk of subsequent complications appeared to concentrate in this group, although the mortality rate from PLA was low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2274-2278
Number of pages5
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number11
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • microbiology
  • percutaneous drainage
  • pyogenic liver abscess


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