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Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 1999 Jun;28(2):491-513.

Hepatobiliary manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, McClellan VA Hospital (VR), Little Rock, USA.


PSC is the most common of the clinically significant hepatobiliary diseases seen in association with IBD, with an incidence that varies from 2.5% to 7.5%. Conversely, 50% to 75% of patients with PSC have IBD. This high degree of association suggests a common pathogenetic mechanism; however, no causal relationship has been established. The etiopathogenesis of PSC remains poorly understood, despite a large number of studies looking at differing hypotheses. The diagnosis is usually established by cholangiography. Liver biopsy can sometimes be helpful in diagnosing pericholangitis. There is a significant overlap of the histology with chronic hepatitis. Serum markers have been studied for diagnosing PSC, particularly for early diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, but none have shown the high sensitivity and specificity needed to use them clinically. PSC usually progresses insidiously and eventually leads to cirrhosis. Despite progress in early recognition, optimal management of patients with PSC remains a challenge requiring a multidisciplinary approach among hepatologists, endoscopists, surgeons, and interventional radiologists. Colectomy for ulcerative colitis does not alter the natural history of PSC. There is a high (10% to 15%) incidence of cholangiocarcinoma in patients with PSC. This incidence along with the risk of colon cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis makes it necessary to follow these patients closely. A number of pharmacologic therapies have been evaluated, but none has proven successful in slowing the progression of PSC or prolonging survival. Endoscopic therapy has a proven utility in treating complications of recurrent cholangitis or worsening jaundice in the setting of a dominant stricture, but endoscopy has not been shown to improve survival or decrease the need for liver transplantation. Liver transplantation is life-saving for patients with advanced PSC. Pericholangitis, gallstones, and chronic hepatitis are additional disorders noted in association with IBD, but they are much less common and easier to manage than PSC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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