Hepatic amebiasis; Extraintestinal amebiasis; Abscess – amebic liver
Definition of Amebic liver abscess
Amebic liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver brought on by an intestinal parasite.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Amebic liver abscess is caused by , the same organism that causes amebiasis, an intestinal infection also called amebic dysentery. The organism is carried by the blood from the intestines to the liver.
There may or may not be symptoms of intestinal infection. Symptoms may include:
Signs and tests
Tests that may be done include:
An antibiotic medicine called metronidazole (Flagyl) is the usual treatment for liver abscess. A medication such as iodoquinol must also be taken to get rid of all the amebas in the intestine, to prevent the disease from coming back. This can usually be delayed until after the abscess has been treated.
Without treatment, the abscess may rupture and spread into other organs, leading to death. Persons who receive treatment have a very high chance of a complete cure or having only minor complications.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/30/2009