Cholestatic presentation of chronic hepatitis C: A clinical and histological study with a review of the literature

K. Shiva Kumar, M. H. Saboorian, William M. Lee

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17 Scopus citations


Bile duct lesions are observed in the livers of chronic hepatitis C patients, but are inconstant and rarely associated with other features of chronic cholestasis and progressive bile duct injury or loss. We aimed to identify the clinical and biochemical characteristics of patients with chronic hepatitis C from our patient database presenting with prominent cholestatic features to determine if there is a correlation between histological evidence of bile duct injury and clinical or biochemical features observed in these patients. We retrospectively reviewed a hepatitis C database including 620 patients to identify those who presented with either alkaline phosphatase (AP) ≥ 400 units/liter (normal 30-126 units/liter) or AP ≥ 250 units/liter with pruritus. All patients were negative for anti-mitochondrial antibody (AMA). Appropriate exclusion criteria were used to exclude patients with other confounding factors. Histological features were compared with age- and sex-matched controls selected randomly from our hepatitis C database. Thirty-two patients were identified as meeting the above criteria. Twenty-four were excluded for the presence of other confounding factors and two for lack of liver biopsy. There were two men and four women. The mean age was 47±9 years. Four of the six presented with pruritus, which was severe in three. Liver biopsy showed evidence of moderate to severe fibrosis in all but one patient. Evidence of bile duct injury was seen in all patients and tended to be more severe than in controls. Bile ductular proliferation and mild ductopenia were the most commonly observed findings. A subset of patients with chronic hepatitis C may present with prominent cholestatic features. The majority of these patients present with pruritus and have histological evidence of bile duct injury, which may be progressive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2066-2073
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001


  • Bile ducts
  • Cholestasis
  • Chronic hepatitis C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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