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Indian J Gastroenterol. 1999 Oct-Nov;18(4):152-5.

Hepatic manifestations in chronic arsenic toxicity.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research, Calcutta.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The hepatotoxic action of arsenic, when used as a therapeutic agent, has long been recognized. Data on liver involvement following chronic exposure to arsenic-contaminated water are scanty. We report the nature and degree of liver involvement on the basis of hospital-based and cohort follow-up studies in patients who consumed arsenic-contaminated drinking water for 1 to 15 years.

METHODS:

248 patients with evidence of chronic arsenic toxicity underwent clinical and laboratory examinations including liver function tests and HBsAg status. Liver biopsy was done in 69 cases; in 29 patients, liver arsenic content was estimated by neutron activation analysis. A cohort follow up of 23 patients who took arsenic-free water for 2-12 years was also carried out.

RESULTS:

Hepatomegaly was present in 190 of 248 patients (76.6%). Noncirrhotic portal fibrosis (91.3%) was the predominant lesion in liver histology. The maximum arsenic content in liver was 6 mg/Kg (mean 1.46 [0.42], control value 0.16 [0.04]; p < 0.001); it was undetected in 6 of 29 samples studied. Cohort follow-up studies showed elevation of globulin in four cases and development of esophageal varices in one case.

CONCLUSION:

We report the largest number of patients with liver disease due to chronic arsenicosis from drinking arsenic-contaminated water. Noncirrhotic portal fibrosis is the predominant lesion in this population.

Comment in

PMID:
10531716
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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