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May 1986

Treatment of Pyogenic Hepatic Abscesses: Surgical vs Percutaneous Drainage

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Bertel and van Heerden) and Diagnostic Radiology (Dr Sheedy), Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Surg. 1986;121(5):554-558. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1986.01400050072009

• A retrospective review of 39 patients with pyogenic hepatic abscess treated from 1977 through 1984 included 23 patients who were surgically treated and 16 who underwent percutaneous drainage. The average age in each group was similar (about 55 years). The most common cause of abscesses in each group was biliary tract disease. Abscesses caused by portal seeding and local extension were more common in the surgical group, 14 of whom required additional surgical procedures at the time of surgical drainage. Of the 16 patients in the percutaneously drained group, seven were seen during the immediate postoperative period. Most of the abscesses occurred in the right lobe of the liver, but single abscesses in the left lobe (30%) and multiple abscesses (57%) were more common in the surgical group. Klebsiella enterobacter and group D streptococcus were most common in the surgically and percutaneously drained groups, respectively. All patients received antibiotics, with a mean length of treatment of 14 days. Mean time to defervescence was about four days in both groups, with a longer hospital stay for the percutaneously drained group (26 vs 46 days). Morbidity was high in both groups (surgical, 48%; percutaneous, 69%). Three of the percutaneously treated patients required surgical drainage because of highly viscous abscess contents. Mortality was 17% in the surgical group and 13% in the percutaneously drained group. Percutaneous drainage with computed tomography probably should be the initial drainage procedure in patients with pyogenic hepatic abscesses in whom no concomitant surgical procedure is planned. Regardless of treatment, the morbidity and mortality remain high.

(Arch Surg 1986;121:554-558)

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