Author(s): OKOGBUE OKEZIE, GABRIEL DeANGELIS
HEPATOMA, A RARE TUMOR in North America and Europe, is intimately associated with liver cirrhosis and hemochromatosis, and has a prediliction for middle-aged and elderly men. Antemortem diagnosis is difficult although certain features in a cirrhotic such as abdominal pain, rapid onset of tense bloody ascites, weakness and weight loss, persistent fever unrelated to sepsis, sudden deterioration in a compensated cirrhotic, and the presence of a friction rub have been suggested as clues. There are no pathognomonic signs, symptoms or laboratory indices. The disease mimics other conditions and rarely presents as an acute abdominal catastrophe. Three apparently well patients who presented with acute abdomen due to spontaneous rupture of a hepatoma form the basis of this report. The unsuspected diagnosis was established at laparotomy.