SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT OF SEVERE HEPATITIS C-ASSOCIATED PULMONARY VASCULITIS IN A LIVER TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT

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Abstract

Background.

We report the clinical course of a patient who developed fever, hypoxia, and bilateral pulmonary infiltrates two and a half years after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for cirrhosis due to hepatitis C. The patient had a history of hepatitis C-associated vasculitis manifested by purpuric skin rashes, renal abnormalities, and elevated cryoglobulins, and was receiving interferon-α at the time of presentation.

Results.

The results of bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage were unrevealing, and open lung biopsy revealed active small vessel vasculitis. The patient responded dramatically to plasmapheresis and the addition of high-dose corticosteroids with resolution of hypoxia, pulmonary infiltrates, and glomerulonephritis. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of the successful treatment of hepatitis C-associated pulmonary vasculitis after OLT.

Conclusions.

We conclude that hepatitis C-associated pulmonary vasculitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of a patient presenting with fever, hypoxia, and pulmonary infiltrates after OLT for hepatitis C. Treatment with plasmapheresis and high-dose corticosteroids may be effective in patients with this disorder.

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