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Hepatic Involvement in Systemic Sarcoidosis

Abdisamad M. Ibrahim, Bishal Bhandari, Paolo K. Soriano, Zafar Quader, John Z. Gao, Dmitry Shuster, Chaitanya K. Mamillapalli

(Department of Internal Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2018; 19:1212-1215

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.910600


BACKGROUND: Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that can affect any organ, including the liver. It is manifested by the presence of non-caseating granulomas within involved organs, most commonly the pulmonary, lymphatic, and hepatic system. Unlike pulmonary or lymphatic involvement, hepatic involvement is usually asymptomatic and it is underdiagnosed. Here, we report a case of a patient with a history of pulmonary sarcoidosis who developed hepatic sarcoidosis.
CASE REPORT: 68-year-old female with pulmonary sarcoidosis with a 2-week history of severe abdominal pain and epigastric tenderness presented to our center. Abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated mild hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. A thorough workup was performed including a liver biopsy which showed chronic non-necrotizing granulomas consistent with sarcoidosis. She was started on prednisone and subsequently improved. The patient was symptom-free on follow-up 1 month later.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients with hepatic sarcoidosis are usually asymptomatic, with only 5–30% presenting with abdominal pain, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, and hepatosplenomegaly. In rare cases, hepatic sarcoidosis can lead to cholestasis, portal hypertension, cirrhosis, or Budd-Chiari syndrome. Treatment with steroids is the mainstay of therapy; however, in severe cases, patients may require liver transplantation. This case report demonstrates that hepatic sarcoidosis is a serious condition, and if not treated, can lead to portal hypertension and cirrhosis. In patients with sarcoidosis, early detection and longitudinal follow-up is important in preventing overt liver failure.

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