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J Natl Med Assoc. Dec 2007; 99(12): 1381–1385.
PMCID: PMC2575931

Jaundice in African-American and Hispanic patients with AIDS.


Although abnormalities in hepatic biochemical tests are common in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), overt jaundice is infrequent. The aim of this study was to investigate the etiology and outcome of jaundice in African-American and Hispanic patients with AIDS. We retrospectively reviewed medical records of 1,238 HIV-infected patients with abnormal liver chemistry over a 10-year period. Data were abstracted and analyzed for demography, medications, laboratory tests, abdominal ultrasonography, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) and liver biopsy results. Of 1,238 patients with abnormal liver chemistry and HIV infection, 1,040 (84%) had AIDS. Of the 1,040 AIDS patients, 102 (10%) had jaundice (serum bilirubin >3 mg/dL). Of the 198 HIV-positive patients without AIDS and with abnormal liver chemistry, none had jaundice. The common causes of jaundice were drugs (29%) and infections (28%). Liver biopsy was performed in 20 AIDS patients, and the common findings included granulomas, Mycobacterium avium complex (25%) and Kaposi's sarcoma (25%). Of 102 patients with AIDS and jaundice, 72 (70%) died. Of the 198 patients without AIDS and without jaundice, 14 (7%) died. In conclusion, liver-associated enzyme abnormality was common among our patients with AIDS; however, jaundice was infrequent and associated with a high mortality; drugs, infections and alcohol were the common culprits.

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