Non-surgical treatment of biliary liver abscesses: Efficacy of endoscopic drainage and local antibiotic lavage with nasobiliary catheter

Jozsef S. Dull, Lajos Topa, Valeria Balgha, Akos Pap

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Background: It is universally recognized that the most frequent cause of hepatic abscess is biliary disease. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of endoscopic drainage and local antibiotic lavage via nasobiliary catheter in the treatment of liver abscesses of biliary origin. Method: From January 1994 to December 1995, twenty-two cases of pyogenic liver abscess were treated. Diagnosis was established with ultrasound, computed tomography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiography, and laboratory tests. All patients were assigned prospectively to endoscopic or other non- surgical forms of therapy, depending on the etiology of the pyogenic process. Patients in whom this treatment failed underwent surgical drainage. Twenty patients had hepatic abscesses of biliary origin. In this subgroup, a nasobiliary catheter was placed into the biliary tree for continuous antibiotic lavage (infusion technique: 1 to 1.5 mL/min for 8 to 10 days) after endoscopic sphincterotomy. Two patients had hepatic abscesses of hematogenous and amebic origin, respectively. They were treated only with the appropriate systemic antibiotics. Results: Nineteen patients of the biliary subgroup (95%) and the two patients with non-biliary disease (100%) had complete resolution of the abscesses. 'Salvage' surgical drainage was required in only one patient (4.5%). There was no treatment related mortality. Conclusion: Endoscopic sphincterotomy and local antibiotic lavage via an endoscopically placed nasobiliary catheter is a safe and effective treatment for biliary liver abscesses. It should be considered as first-line treatment in this subgroup of patients with liver abscesses. Percutaneous or surgical drainage modalities should be reserved for patients in whom endoscopic treatment fails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalGastrointestinal Endoscopy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology

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