To evaluate the efficacy of percutaneous transhepatic abscess drainage (PTAD) as an initial choice of treatment for liver abscess, the medical records of 28 patients with liver abscess were retrospectively analyzed. The patients were predominantly men (23 of 28) with a mean age of 59 years (range, 19-86 years). Their chief complaints were fever (86%), right hypochondralgia (32%), and jaundice (11%). Fifteen of the 28 patients (54%) had hepatobiliary and pancreatic carcinoma, and 31% had postoperative liver abscess. PTAD was performed in 23 patients and surgical drainage in 5. The overall success rate for PTAD was 83%. The success rate for PTAD for patients with multiple abscesses was 83% (5 of 6), compared with a success rate of 82% (14 of 17) for patients with solitary abscess. The prognostic factors for survival were cancer and sepsis and the mortality rate for patients with cancer was 40% (6 of 15) while the mortality rate for patients with sepsis was 56% (5 of 9). As a complication of drainage, 1 patient (4%) in the PTAD group had pleural abscess due to the transpleural puncture. Our findings support the use of PTAD as the primary treatment for liver abscess, as it is safe and effective irrespective of the number of abscesses and the patient's condition.