Items in AFP with MESH term: Liver
ABSTRACT: Hereditary hemochromatosis is the most common inherited single-gene disorder in people of northern European descent. It is characterized by increased intestinal absorption of iron, with deposition of the iron in multiple organs. Previously, the classic description was combined diabetes mellitus, cutaneous hyperpigmentation and cirrhosis. Increasingly, however, hereditary hemochromatosis is being diagnosed at an earlier, less symptomatic stage. The diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical, laboratory and pathologic findings, including elevated serum transferrin saturation. Life expectancy is usually normal if phlebotomy is initiated before the development of cirrhosis or diabetes mellitus. Hereditary hemochromatosis is associated with mutations in the HFE gene. Between 60 and 93 percent of patients with the disorder are homozygous for a mutation designated C282Y. The HFE gene test is useful in confirming the diagnosis of hereditary hemochromatosis, screening adult family members of patients with HFE mutations and resolving ambiguities concerning iron overload.
The Unexpected When Expecting - Close-ups
ABSTRACT: A number of pitfalls can be encountered in the interpretation of common blood liver function tests. These tests can be normal in patients with chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis. The normal range for aminotransferase levels is slightly higher in males, nonwhites and obese persons. Severe alcoholic hepatitis is sometimes confused with cholecystitis or cholangitis. Conversely, patients who present soon after passing common bile duct stones can be misdiagnosed with acute hepatitis because aminotransferase levels often rise immediately, but alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyltransferase levels do not become elevated for several days. Asymptomatic patients with isolated, mild elevation of either the unconjugated bilirubin or the gamma-glutamyltransferase value usually do not have liver disease and generally do not require extensive evaluation. Overall hepatic function can be assessed by applying the values for albumin, bilirubin and prothrombin time in the modified Child-Turcotte grading system.
ABSTRACT: Statins play an important role in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease and have a good safety record in clinical practice. The risk of hepatic injury caused by statins is estimated to be about 1 percent, similar to that of patients taking a placebo. Patients with transaminase levels no more than three times the upper limit of normal can continue taking statins; often the elevations will resolve spontaneously. Coexisting elevations of transaminase levels from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and stable hepatitis B and C viral infections are not contra- indications to statin use. Although myalgias are common with statin use, myositis and rhabdomyolysis are rare. When prescribed at one-half the recommended maximal dosage or less, statins are associated with an incidence of myopathy similar to that of placebo; therefore, rou- tine monitoring of creatine kinase levels in asymptomatic patients is not recommended. Myopathic symptoms usually resolve approximately two months after discontinuing the statin, and the same statin can be restarted at a lower dosage, or patients can try a different statin. Clinically important drugs that interact with statins and increase the risk of adverse effects include fibrates, diltiazem, verapamil, and amiodarone.
ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the liver (hepatic steatosis). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is characterized by steatosis, liver cell injury, and inflammation. The mechanism of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is unknown but involves the development of insulin resistance, steatosis, inflammatory cytokines, and oxidative stress. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with physical inactivity, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Screening is not recommended in the general population. The diagnosis is usually made after an incidental discovery of unexplained elevation of liver enzyme levels or when steatosis is noted on imaging (e.g., ultrasonography). Patients are often asymptomatic and the physical examination is often unremarkable. No single laboratory test is diagnostic, but tests of liver function, tests for metabolic syndrome, and tests to exclude other causes of abnormal liver enzyme levels are routinely performed. Imaging studies, such as ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, can assess hepatic fat, measure liver and spleen size, and exclude other diseases. Liver biopsy remains the criterion standard for the diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Noninvasive tests are available and may reduce the need for liver biopsy. A healthy diet, weight loss, and exercise are first-line therapeutic measures to reduce insulin resistance. There is insufficient evidence to support bariatric surgery, metformin, thiazolidinediones, bile acids, or antioxidant supplements for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The long-term prognosis is not associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or liver disease.