Author(s): Uchida T, Kao H, QuispeSjogren M, Peters RL
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Abstract A newly recognized clinical and morphologic pattern of acute alcoholic liver disease is described. Twenty-one patients, having the hepatic morphologic features of alcoholic foamy degeneration, were retrospectively analyzed. All patients had a significant history of chronic alcoholism. Jaundice and hepatomegaly were usually present. Hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, bleeding esophageal varices, or functional renal failure occurred in less than 10\%. Usually this was the first episode of decompensation. Laboratory studies revealed a pattern of very transiently marked elevation of serum aminotransferase and more prolonged elevation of alkaline phosphatase activity and bilirubin levels. In the majority of cases, leukocytosis was absent, and serum cholesterol was elevated. The laboratory profile differed significantly from that of acute sclerosing hyaline necrosis. Serologic markers of acute viral hepatitis A and B were absent. Needle biopsy specimens of the liver revealed intact lobular architecture except for 1 case of cirrhosis. The perivenular hepatocytes revealed foamy fatty change characterized by striking cell swelling with massive accumulation of microvesicular fat, bile pigment deposition in the cytoplasm, and no displacement of the nucleus to the periphery of the cell. Megamitochondria were frequently identified. Multiple foci of hepatocyte dropout without significant parenchymal neutrophilic exudation and delicate intrasinusoidal collagen fibers were present in the perivenular area. Macrovesicular fatty change coexisted to a variable degree. The affected hepatocytes had extensive disorganization of the organelles by electron microscopy and decreased or absent functional activity by enzyme histochemical staining. These changes appear to be a purely degenerative process without inflammatory reaction. All patients in the present series showed a rapid recovery upon abstaining from alcohol.
This article was published in Gastroenterology
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology