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Cirrhosis in a Young Child Due to Fatty Liver; Importance of Early Screening: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Hamza Hassan Khan, Christine E. Klingert, Sanjay Kumar, Hernando Lyons

(Department of Pediatrics, Ascension St. John Children’s Hospital, Detroit, MI, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923250

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923250

BACKGROUND: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the presence of chronic hepatic steatosis in the absence of infections, steatogenic medication use, metabolic/genetic disorders, malnutrition, or ethanol consumption. NAFLD encompasses a spectrum of liver damage varying from non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) on the most clinically benign end of the spectrum to cirrhosis on the opposite extreme, where most liver-related morbidity and mortality occurs.
CASE REPORT: We report a case of a 9-year-old boy with history of obesity (BMI 32.1 kg/m² - 99th percentile) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, who was referred to our pediatric gastroenterology clinic with a 1-week history of vomiting and right upper-quadrant abdominal pain. A review of the past medical history revealed transaminitis for the last 4 years and a dietary regimen for the last 2 years with poor compliance and follow-up. An extensive workup revealed an SGPT of 327 unit/L, SGOT 186 unit/L, and triglycerides of 208 mg/dL; infectious, metabolic, genetic, and autoimmune etiologies were ruled-out. The median liver stiffness measured by Fibroscan was 14 kPa, consistent with F4 fibrosis, and the cap median value was 271 dB/mW, reflective of S2 steatosis. An ultrasound-guided core liver biopsy revealed steatohepatitis with bridging and encircling fibrosis consistent with early/evolving cirrhosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Although cirrhosis is rarely seen in pediatric patients with NAFLD, it should always be considered. Secondly, Fibroscan, a non-invasive imaging procedure, is a useful tool to assess the level of fibrosis and steatosis in patients with NAFLD; early evaluation of our patient could potentially have limited the progression to cirrhosis.

Keywords: Fatty Liver, Liver Cirrhosis, Pediatrics

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