Ruptured hepatic abscess mimicking perforated viscus

Yen-Chun Lai, Yu-Jang Su, Wen-Han Chang
International Journal of Infectious Diseases: IJID 2008, 12 (6): e95-7

BACKGROUND: In the majority of pneumoperitoneum cases we diagnose perforated viscus. We present herein a case of ruptured hepatic abscess mimicking perforated viscus.

CASE REPORT: A 40-year-old man presented to the emergency room with fever and right upper quadrant abdominal pain. The fever had been on/off for a period of 1 month. On physical examination, diffuse abdominal pain with rebounding tenderness was noted. Blood tests showed leukocytosis with left shift, hyperglycemia, and elevated liver function tests. A chest X-ray showed a subdiaphragmatic region air-fluid level, indicating a hepatic abscess. Pneumoperitoneum was also seen. Owing to the status of peritonitis, computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen was performed and revealed an air-containing liver abscess in the right lobe of the liver. Perforation of a hollow organ was also suspected because of the pneumoperitoneum. An emergent laparotomy was immediately performed for the suspicion of a hollow organ perforation. No perforation of the hollow viscus was found. The ruptured hepatic abscess was attributed to the pneumoperitoneum. A blood culture grew Klebsiella pneumoniae four days later, and the same organism was also found in a surgical specimen culture of the abscess.

CONCLUSIONS: For a ruptured hepatic abscess, surgical intervention with draining of the abscess and cleaning of the abdominal cavity are essential to save patient lives.


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