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Patients with infections of the liver generally present with nonspecific symptoms such as fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, or weight loss. The abdominal pain may be diffuse, be confined to the right upper quadrant, or radiate to the shoulder or back. Other symptoms may include headache, arthralgias, and adenopathy. The initial history should focus on geographic location or travel, unprotected sex or drug use, use of hemodialysis or blood products, other recent exposures, vaccination/immune status, chronicity of symptoms, anatomical anomalies or surgery that may affect the biliary tracts, and family history of hepatitis. Physical exam is often normal; some patients will have right upper quadrant or diffuse abdominal tenderness and hepatomegaly. Jaundice or stigmata of chronic liver disease is infrequent. For additional details regarding viral hepatitis, please refer to Table 232-1 and Chapter 303.


Laboratory findings of liver infection often consist of leukocytosis, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and variable elevation of bilirubin, aminotransferases (alanine aminotransferase [ALT], aspartate aminotransferase [AST]), alkaline phosphatase, and γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT). Liver ultrasound is useful in initial evaluation of suspected liver infection because it can screen for liver abscess or bile duct anomalies.


Cholangitis is an infection of the biliary tracts and is ...

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