April 1995

The Comparison of Clinical Course and Results of Treatment Between Gas-Forming and Non–Gas-Forming Pyogenic Liver Abscess

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Chou, Sheen-Chen, and Chen) and Radiology (Dr Lee), Chang Gung Medical School, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(4):401-405. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430040063012

Objectives:  To study and review the clinical manifestations, courses, and results of treatment in 83 cases of verified gas-forming pyogenic liver abscess.

Design:  Case series.

Setting:  Both primary and referral hospital care.

Patients:  Four hundred twenty-four patients with clinical diagnosis of pyogenic liver abscess were enrolled in the study. Eighty-three patients had gas-forming abscesses and 341 had non–gas-forming abscesses. The clinical manifestations, duration of symptoms, incidence of septic shock, laboratory findings, concurrent diabetes mellitus, cause of abscess, size of abscess, and results of treatment were recorded.

Main Outcome Measures:  A χ2 test for qualitative data and Student's t test for quantitative data.

Results:  Duration of symptoms were shorter (mean±SD, 5.2±5.3 vs 7.6±10 days) (P<.005) and the incidence of septic shock was higher in the gas-forming than in the non—gas-forming group (32.5% vs 11.7%) (P<.01). Laboratory findings revealed high levels of blood glucose, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and serum urea nitrogen in the gas-forming group. The size of abscess was usually bigger (>5 cm) in this group. In the gas-forming group, 71 patients (85.5%) had diabetes mellitus and 65 patients (78.3%) had conditions of cryptogenic origin. Klebsiella pneumoniae was the main bacteria, in blood culture and liver aspirates, especially in gas-forming liver abscess. Medical treatment and/or aspiration carried a high mortality rate (44.4%) in the gas-forming group; also, the overall mortality rate was higher in this group than in the non–gas-forming group (27.7% vs 14.4%) (P<.01).

Conclusions:  The gas-forming liver abscess may be a disease of wide spectrum of severity and may run a fulminating course. Strong antibiotics with early adequate drainage are mandatory. Surgery should not be delayed if necessary.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:401-405)