Hepatic granuloma: decreasing trend in a high-incidence area

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BackgroundHepatic granuloma (HG) has a high reported incidence in Saudi Arabia (14.6%). We aimed to identify the incidence of HG in our centres and review its presenting features and underlying aetiology.MethodsA total of 5531 liver biopsies were screened through a computer database over 13 years. Sixty-six (1.2%) patients fulfilled our inclusion criteria. The patients were then divided into three groups according to the aetiology. Group 1, tuberculosis (n=26); Group 2, viral hepatitis B and C (n=11); and Group 3, idiopathic (n=9). The demographical data and the clinical and biochemical features of all the groups were analysed.ResultsInfections comprised of 72.2% of HG. The incidence of tuberculosis was 42.6%, viral hepatitis 16.3% and idiopathic 14.8%. Fever (47.5%), weight loss (42.6%) and fatigue (45.9%) were commonly found symptoms. Fever and weight loss were significantly more frequently presenting symptoms in Group 1 than in Groups 2 and 3 (P=0.0002, 0.04, 0.001 and 0.02 respectively). The mean bilirubin levels in Group 1 were significantly lower than in Groups 2 and 3 (P=0.04 and 0.03 respectively). The mean albumin levels were significantly lower in Group 3 compared with Group 2 (P=0.002), and Group 1 had lower levels compared with Group 2 (P=0.018).ConclusionThe incidence of HG is much lower than reported previously from this region. Tuberculosis and viral hepatitis are the most common causes and, contrary to previous reports, schistosomiasis is rare. Fever and weight loss distinguished tuberculous HG.

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