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ABSCESS OF THE LIVER. Hepatic Abscess: Suppurative Hepatitis
Category: Digestive Organs
This is a
circumscribed collection of pus in the liver tissue. If there is only one
abscess it is in the larger lobe in seventy per cent of the cases. The
amount of fluid contained in such an abscess may be two or three quarts
and its color varies from a grayish white to a creamy reddish-brown; when
the abscess is caused by a type (amebic) of dysentery, there is generally
only one abscess, occurring more often in the right lobe, whereas other
forms due to septic infection give rise to many abscesses.
Causes. This disease is rare even in tropical climates. When it is
excited by gall stones, it is invariably septic in character and the
infecting material reaches the interior through the liver vessels or bile
passages. Stomach ulcers, typhoid fever, appendicitis, may bring on such
an abscess. Pus wounds of the head are sometimes followed by a liver
abscess. The most common method of infection is through the portal vein.
Other causes that may be mentioned are foreign bodies traveling up the
ducts, as round-worms and parasites.
Symptoms. Hectic temperature, pain, tenderness, and an enlarged liver,
and often slight jaundice. In acute cases the fever rises rapidly,
reaching 103 or 104 in twenty-four hours. It is irregular and
intermittent, and it may be hectic, that is, like the fever of
consumption. Shakings or decided chills frequently are present with the
rise of fever and when the fever declines there may be profuse sweating.
The skin is pale and shows a slight jaundice, the conjunctiva being
yellowish. Progressive loss of strength with disturbance of the stomach
and bowels is present. The bowels are variable and constipated and loose.
Dropsy of the abdomen (Ascites) may develop, on account of pressure on the
big vein, inferior vena-cava. Lung symptoms, severe cough, reddish-brown
expectoration are often present.
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