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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


A Rare Cause of Chronic Liver Disease Diagnosed by Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Liver Biopsy

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare disease

Nourah A. Alajeel, Mohammad Shehab ORCID logo, Issam Francis, Ali Alali

Kuwait Haya Al-Habeeb Gastroenterology and Hepatology Center, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Jabriya, Kuwait

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e933002

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.933002

Available online: 2021-06-10

Published: 2021-07-19


BACKGROUND: Elevated liver enzymes is a common clinical problem with many possible etiologies, yet some are rare and can be missed. Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) may be at risk of liver disease due to recurrent blood transfusion predisposing to viral hepatitis. Furthermore, recurrent transfusions can increase the risk of iron overload, which can create deposits in the liver, eventually resulting in chronic liver disease. Liver biopsy is an essential tool to establish a diagnosis of liver disease in many patients with unexplained elevation of liver enzymes. Recently, endosocpic ultrasound (EUS)-guided liver biopsy has been shown to be safe and effective in obtaining adequate liver tissue. However, the safety and efficacy has not been established in patients with SCD.
CASE REPORT: A 59-year-old man with SCD and beta-thalassemia minor was evaluated for persistently elevated liver enzymes (mainly cholestatic). He had a background history of treated hepatitis C virus infection. He had multiple blood transfusions in the past for sickle cell crisis. A diagnostic work-up revealed negative viral and autoimmiune serology and no evidence of biliary obstruction on abdominal imaging. The iron profile was elevated, consistent with iron overload. An EUS-guided liver biopsy confirmed a diagnosis hepatic hemosiderosis secondary to long-term blood transfusions.
CONCLUSIONS: This report emphasizes the importance of careful monitoring of iron levels in patients with hematological conditions requiring long-term blood transfusions. In addition, it highlights the emerging role of EUS-guided liver biopsy as a safe and accurate alternative to percutaneous liver biopsy.

Keywords: Anemia, Sickle Cell, Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration, Endosonography, Hemosiderosis