Autoimmune Liver Disease in Children with Sickle Cell Disease

A recent retrospective study (S Jitaruch et al. J Pediatr 2017; 189: 79-85) documents the important association of autoimmune liver disease in children with sickle cell disease (SCD).  I have seen  children with hemoglobinopathy and autoimmune hepatitis.

Key findings:

  • 13 of 77 patients with SCD were diagnosed with autoimmune liver disease
  • 2 patients presented with acute liver failure
  • 6 patients had cholangiopathy on cholangiogram “suggesting autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis”
  • At median follow-up of 3.8 years, 5 achieved full remission, 4 partial remission, 1 had liver transplant, 1 died of subdural hemorrhage (prior to liver disease treatment), and 2 were lost to followup

My take: this report is a good reminder that though there are a good number of reasons for abnormal liver blood tests in children with SCD, it is important to follow these children closely and to obtain serology (including ANCA) in those with persistent elevations.

Related blog post: Blood is not enough

South Kaibab Trail at the basin of the Grand Canyon (Colorado River)

 

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