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Gastroenterology. 1994 Feb;106(2):459-63.

Clinical aspects of incomplete septal cirrhosis in comparison with macronodular cirrhosis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.



Incomplete septal cirrhosis (ISC) is a form of macronodular cirrhosis characterized by slender, incomplete septa that demarcate inconspicuous nodules. Its clinical features have not been investigated in a large series. The aims of this study were to review the clinical symptoms and evolution of ISC in 42 patients.


Forty-two patients with at least one liver biopsy strongly suggestive of ISC were selected for the study covering a period between 1968 and 1987. Data for these patients were compared with the evolution of 49 patients with classical macronodular cirrhosis after chronic active hepatitis type B or C.


Possible etiological factors for ISC were alcohol abuse, arsenic treatment, and hepatitis B infection. In three cases, a genetic factor could not be excluded. Patients with ISC had significantly lower serum concentrations of transaminases and bilirubin at diagnosis. Compared with macronodular cirrhosis, bleeding varices were more frequent (57% vs. 22%) in ISC. Ten-year survivals in the ISC and the macronodular cirrhosis groups were 54% and 57%, respectively.


ISC represents a relatively stable burnt-out form of macronodular cirrhosis with an unusually high incidence of variceal bleeding. This could be explained by a superimposed insufficiency of the portal vascular supply.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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