Noncirrhotic Portal Fibrosis in Pediatric Population

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Abstract

Objectives:

Noncirrhotic portal fibrosis (NCPF) has been classically described as a disease of young to middle age with limited literature regarding its occurrence, onset, or clinical presentation in children. We hereby present a series of 19 patients diagnosed and managed as NCPF in pediatric age group.

Methods:

A retrospective review of all the patients presenting to the pediatric hepatology department (age <18 years) and diagnosed as NCPF was done and data were evaluated.

Results:

A total of 19 patients were diagnosed as NCPF with median age at onset of symptoms and diagnosis as 10 years and 13.8 years respectively. Majority presented with left upper quadrant discomfort or mass. Laboratory parameters showed hypersplenism in majority with preserved liver synthetic functions. Median values for hepatic venous pressure gradient and liver stiffness measurement were 13.5 mmHg and 10.6 kPa, respectively. Classical hepatic histopathological features seen were maintained lobular architecture, atretic portal tracts, approximation of portal-portal and portal-central areas, and aberrant peripheral portal channels. During follow-up, majority of the patients did not show disease progression.

Conclusions:

NCPF is not an uncommon entity in pediatric population with age of onset in early second decade. Hepatic histopathology must be used to exclude cirrhosis and to confirm the diagnosis. Hepatic venous pressure gradient and liver stiffness measurement values, in some cases, may overlap with those in patients with cirrhosis and may not be diagnostic in isolation. Any patient presenting with evidence of portal hypertension with preserved hepatic functions, irrespective of the age, should be evaluated for possible NCPF.

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