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World J Gastroenterol. Jan 14, 2017; 23(2): 357-365
Published online Jan 14, 2017. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i2.357
Areas of research and clinical approaches to the study of liver abscess
Gregorio González-Alcaide, Jorge Peris, José Manuel Ramos
Gregorio González-Alcaide, Department of History of Science and Documentation, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Spain
Jorge Peris, Deparment of Internal Medicine, Hospital Universitario Sant Joan d’Alacant, 03350 Sant Joan d’Alacant, Spain
Jorge Peris, José Manuel Ramos, Departament of Clinical Medicine, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, 03350 Sant Joan d’Alacant, Spain
José Manuel Ramos, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, 03350 Sant Joan d’Alacant, Spain
Author contributions: González-Alcaide G and Ramos JM are responsible for the design of the study; González-Alcaide G did statistical analysis, Peris J and Ramos JM participated in the analysis and interpretation of the data; all authors drafted, prepared, read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: On behalf of all authors of the above manuscript, I declare that we have no conflict of interest in publication of the article.
Data sharing statement: A bibliographic database including all references available from the corresponding author at email: No additional data are available.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Gregorio González-Alcaide, PhD, Department of History of Science and Documentation, University of Valencia, 15, Blasco Ibáñez Avenue, 46010 Valencia, Spain.
Telephone: +34-963834958
Received: July 24, 2016
Peer-review started: July 26, 2016
First decision: October 11, 2016
Revised: October 25, 2016
Accepted: November 14, 2016
Article in press: November 16, 2016
Published online: January 14, 2017

To analyze the research activity on liver abscess (LA) and identify the main topic clusters in the area.


We identified all documents using the medical subject heading “LA” indexed in the MEDLINE database between 2001 and 2015. We performed a descriptive bibliometric analysis, characterizing the evolution of scientific activity, the publication types of the documents, the document categories of clinical interest (case reports, clinical trials, evaluation studies, meta-analysis, observational studies, practice guidelines and validation studies) and the geographic distribution of the research. We also carried out an analysis of networks and research clusters in order to identify the main topic areas of research.


Our search yielded a total of 1278 documents, showing a stable scientific production over the study period and a marked multidisciplinary nature. The research was dominated by case reports (65.9% of the documents analyzed). In terms of geographic distribution, researchers from the United States led in the number of signatures (n = 229), followed by those from Taiwan (n = 185), India (n = 145), Japan (n = 144), South Korea (n = 100), and China (n = 84). With regard to amebic LA, the top-producing countries were India and Mexico (n = 69 each), followed by the United States (n = 29). In the case of pyogenic LA, Taiwanese researchers led scientific production (n = 71), followed by the United States (n = 39) and China (n = 29). The most active areas of research in the field are diagnosis via computerized tomography scan, differential diagnosis with regard to liver cancer, treatment with antimicrobial agents, and Klebsiella infections (including bacteremia).


Clinical case reports associated with diagnosis and treatment are the main topic of study, highlighting the importance of this document type in advancing knowledge.

Keywords: Liver abscess, Cluster analysis, Amebic abscess, Pyogenic abscess, Bibliometrics

Core tip: Clinical case reports are the dominant publication type for liver abscess research, which highlights the importance of this document category with regard to certain well-known diseases that encompass medical, surgical, diagnostic and therapeutic-radiological aspects, among others, and where professionals gain expertise from relevant case experience. The existence of specific journals that devote space to these contents is essential for advancing knowledge on which to base clinical decision-making.