Polyarteritis nodosa, presenting as life-threatening gastrointestinal hemorrhage in a liver transplant recipient

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This unique case reports the first recorded episode in the medical literature of vasculitis post-liver transplantation, presenting as life-threatening gastrointestinal hemorrhage. A 52-year-old Caucasian woman underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for autoimmune cirrhosis complicated by hepatoma and portal vein thrombosis. Late hepatic artery thrombosis led to a second liver graft. Following recovery from an episode of acute rejection, the patient presented with large volume hematemesis, melena, and hemochezia (passage of fresh blood from the rectum). Following upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy and surgery, angiography illustrated the presence of polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), which was successfully treated with high-dose steroid therapy. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage is an unusual presentation of vasculitis, especially PAN. The occurrence of this phenomenon post-OLT, in the presence of immunosuppression is previously unreported. Liver Transpl 14:151–154, 2008. © 2008 AASLD.

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