Send to

Choose Destination
Hepatol Res. 2018 Dec 21. doi: 10.1111/hepr.13301. [Epub ahead of print]

Acute liver failure due to severe Herpes simplex viral hepatitis in an elderly woman: A case of initial infection.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology, Saiseikai Kanazawa Hospital, Kanazawa.
Department of Internal Medicine, Saiseikai Kanazawa Hospital, Kanazawa.
Department of Pathology II, Kanazawa Medical University, Uchinada-machi, Japan.


The high mortality rate due to severe Herpes simplex viral (HSV) hepatitis is associated with the difficulty of its diagnosis. We describe the extremely rapid disease course of a patient who died of severe HSV hepatitis. A 73-year-old woman was admitted for a bronchial asthma attack. Her symptoms improved with steroid treatment, but she developed a sore throat and painful swallowing. On day 12 after admission, she suddenly went into shock. Blood test results showed a significant increase in the liver enzyme levels, with remarkable disseminated intravascular coagulation. She died the same day. The autopsy revealed extensive coagulative necrosis of the liver. Viral inclusion of type A Cowdry bodies was found in the residual hepatocytes in the hepatic lobule. Immunostaining revealed HSV type 1 positivity. We diagnosed the cause of death as severe HSV hepatitis. On examination of a stored serum sample, the patient tested positive for the HSV immunoglobulin (Ig)-M antibody, and the HSV RNA level was very high (1 × 109 copies/mL). Remarkably, the HSV IgG test result was negative, and we diagnosed her as having had an initial HSV infection. Hepatitis due to HSV is very rare in healthy adults; however, there are many reports of immune-deficient cases. The presence of HSV IgG is decreasing in the elderly population because of the change in living environments/lifestyles. The increasing use of immunosuppressive drugs, such as steroids, for treating diseases in elderly patients could be linked to the increased prevalence of initial HSV infections, resulting in liver injury.


Herpes simplex viral hepatitis; acute liver failure; elderly people; initial infection


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center