Liver abscess (LA), a common problem in children in the tropics, is believed to be mostly pyogenic (PLA), sometimes amebic (ALA). We aimed to analyze the clinical profile, etiology, risk factors for complications, management and outcomes of LA in children.
The details of 81 children with LA managed in a tertiary set up over a period of 3 years were analyzed. A comparison of different parameters was performed with respect to etiology and complications.
ALA, PLA and mixed infection LA were diagnosed in 40 (49.4%), 32 (39.5%) and 9 (11.1%) children. The triad of fever, hepatomegaly and right upper quadrant tenderness was seen in 65 (80.2%). Coagulopathy was observed in 60 (77%) and jaundice in 12 (14.8%). Majority (71.6%) had a single LA in the right lobe (69%). Conservative, percutaneous needle aspiration, percutaneous catheter drainage and surgical drainage were done in 11.1%, 3.7%, 82.7% and 2.5%, respectively. Forty-three (53.1%) had complicated LA with rupture in 55.8% and vascular thrombosis in 16.2%. Children with complicated LA had higher alanine transaminase, prolonged prothrombin time/international normalized ratio, low serum protein and albumin levels (P < 0.05). Median duration of follow-up was 2 months and mean time to resolution of LA was 48.5 ± 18 days.
ALA is the commonest cause of pediatric LA in endemic regions and is difficult to differentiate from PLA clinically. Percutaneous catheter drainage is safe and effective modality for the management of LA in children. A higher alanine transaminase, prolonged prothrombin time/international normalized ratio and low serum albumin levels (<3 g/dL) at presentation identify complicated LA.