Pyogenic liver abscess is an uncommon complication of intra-abdominal or biliary tract infection and is usually a polymicrobial infection associated with high mortality and high rates of relapse. However, over the past 15 years, we have observed a new clinical syndrome in Taiwan: liver abscesses caused by a single microorganism, Klebsiella pneumoniae. We reviewed 182 cases of pyogenic river abscess during the period September 1990 to June 1996; 160 of these cases were caused by K. pneumoniae alone, and 22 were polymicrobial. When patients with K. pneumoniae liver abscess were compared with those who had polymicrobial liver abscess, we found higher incidences of diabetes or glucose intolerance (75% vs. 4.5%) and metastatic infections (11.9% vs. 0) and lower rates of intra-abdominal abnormalities (0.6% vs. 95.5%), mortality (11.3% vs. 41%), and relapse (4.4% vs. 41%) in the former group. Liver abscess caused by K. pneumoniae is a new clinical syndrome that has emerged as an important infectious complication in diabetic patients in Taiwan.
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