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Gastroenterology. 1989 Jun;96(6):1589-95.

Preserved cytosolic and synthetic liver function in jaundice of severe extrahepatic infection.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Inselspital, University of Bern, Switzerland.


We investigated prospectively 9 adult patients with the syndrome of jaundice complicating severe extrahepatic infection both clinically and by quantitative liver function tests. Five patients having severe extrahepatic infection without jaundice were used for comparison. Intraperitoneal infection was found to be a major risk factor for development of jaundice. Jaundice was mainly associated with gram-negative infection, but did not influence survival. Duration of jaundice was dependent on control of the underlying infection. Liver function tests showed a severely deranged organic anion transport, whereas synthetic, cytosolic, and microsomal functions remained preserved. Our study shows that (a) the syndrome of jaundice associated with extrahepatic infection is a functional disorder that is reversible upon control of infection, and that (b) cytosolic, synthetic, and microsomal function is preserved. This may have consequences for both assessing prognosis and clinical management.

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