Is the Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors a Predisposing Factor for Pyogenic Liver Abscesses?

Ahmed Elfiky, Mira Alsheikh, Jeff Hosry, Anum Aqsa, Ahmad Abou Yassine, Liliane Deeb


Background: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) increase gastric pH by reducing acid production. The resulting alkaline milieu in the stomach increases the risk of bacterial translocation. This study aimed to investigate if there is a correlation between PPI use and developing pyogenic liver abscesses.

Methods: In this retrospective case-control analysis, we studied adult patients diagnosed with cryptogenic liver abscess at Northwell hospitals between 2015 and 2019. Adult patients with the diagnosis of liver abscess were included. We excluded patients with history of liver abscess prior to admission, biliary disease, hepatobiliary malignancy, or intra-abdominal infections. A group of randomly selected patients without liver abscess from the same hospitals database were enrolled as the control group. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to adjust for potential confounding factors.

Results: We identified 277 patients diagnosed with first episode of pyogenic liver abscess. Cases were compared to 554 controls. Klebsiella pneumonia was the most common pathogen. PPI use was associated with an increased risk of developing a first episode of pyogenic liver abscess in univariate (odds ratio (OR): 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.70 - 3.27), and multivariate analysis (adjusted OR: 2.27, 95% CI: 1.55 - 3.32).

Conclusion: This study is the first US population-based analysis to demonstrate that PPI use is associated with increased risk of developing pyogenic liver abscesses. Further prospective studies are needed to shed more light on this association and better evaluate the impact of dose and duration of PPI exposure.

Gastroenterol Res. 2021;14(3):184-189


Proton pump inhibitors; Liver abscess; Infection

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