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ABSCESS OF THE LIVER. Hepatic Abscess: Suppurative Hepatitis

Categories: 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 lo
e, 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.