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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0037-8682

Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. vol.46 no.4 Uberaba July/Aug. 2013 

Images In Infectious Diseases

Gas-forming pyogenic liver abscess

Izabella Picinin Safe[1] 

Kátia do Nascimento Couceiro[2] 

Alessandra Galvão Martins[1] 

[1]Departamento de Infectologia, Fundação de Medicina Tropical Doutor Heitor Vieira Dourado, Manaus, AM.

[2]Departamento de Clínica Médica, Fundação Hospital Adriano Jorge, Manaus, AM.

Gas-forming pyogenic liver abscess (GPLA) is an uncommon and potentially fatal disease that represents 7-24% of pyogenic liver abscess cases. Diabetes mellitus is a well-known risk factor, and the main etiological agent is Klebsiella pneumoniae. Escherichia coli is also associated with gas formation, particularly in the presence of biliary disorders. In South America, parasitic diseases have been described as predisposing factors for pyogenic liver abscesses and should be considered during etiological investigation. Clinical symptoms include fever and abdominal pain, but the presentation can be non-specific. Diagnosis is facilitated by abdominal ultrasound and computed tomography scanning (Figure A); the presence of air is observed in less than 36% of chest roentgenograms, simulating pneumoperitoneum (Figure B). The fatality rate due to gas-forming abscesses is higher than that due to non-gas-forming lesions. Other unfavorable prognostic factors are the presence of multidrug-resistant organisms, a high blood urea nitrogen level and an APACHE II score ≥15 at admission. Treatment includes hemodynamic support, antibiotic therapy and early drainage.


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3. Chen SC, Tsai SJ, Lee YT, Yen CH, Huang CC, Lin DB, et al. Predictors of mortality in patients with pyogenic liver abscess. J Med 2008; 66:196-203. [ Links ]

Received: February 26, 2013; Accepted: June 25, 2013

Address to: Dra Izabella Picinin Safe. Depto de Infectologia/FMT-HVD. Avenida Pedro Teixeira 25, Dom Pedro, 69040-000 Manaus, AM, Brasil. Phone: 55 92 2127-3442. e-mail:

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.