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Mayo Clin Proc. 1975 Aug;50(8):438-42.

Wilson's disease (hepatolenticular degeneration) of late adult onset: report of case.


Wilson's disease usually has its onset in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. The clinical picture of hepatic dysfunction without dysfunction of the central nervous system is more typical of the disease in the child or the adolescent than in the adult. We are presenting the case of a man whose age at onset of the disease was 55 years and who had the hepatic complications of Wilson's disease without clinical evidence of disease of the central nervous system. All patients with chronic hepatitis (chronic active liver disease) or cirrhosis of unknown etiology should be screened for the possibility of Wilson's disease. This screening should include slit-lamp biomicroscopy for Kayser-Fleischer rings, determination of serum ceruloplasmin concentration, and measurement of 24-hour urinary excretion of copper. If doubt exists concerning the diagnosis, either a radiocopper kinetic study, using 64Cu or 67Cu, or, if the patient's condition permits, a liver biopsy with measurement of hepatic copper concentration should be done. The rubeanic stain of hepatic tissue for copper is unreliable in making or excluding the diagnosis of Wilson's disease.

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