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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997 Feb;32(2):153-61.

Hepatobiliary and coexisting pancreatic duct abnormalities in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Dept. of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Oulu, Finland.



We performed a cross-sectional study to evaluate the prevalence of hepatobiliary disease in unselected patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), to estimate the frequency of coexisting cholangiographic and pancreatographic duct abnormalities, and to correlate the findings with clinical, endoscopic, and histologic variables.


We screened 237 IBD patients for increased liver function values. Further, hepatobiliary evaluation consisted of transabdominal ultrasonography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and a liver biopsy. In addition, we evaluated the ERCP findings of patients with abnormal pancreatic screening tests (pancreatic enzymes or para-aminobenzoic acid excretion).


Laboratory signs of hepatobiliary disease were found in 37 (16%) of our IBD patients. Abnormal liver test results were commoner in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) than in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) (30.4% versus 11.2%, P < 0.05), and a similar trend was observed in the frequency of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) in the respective groups of IBD patients. When the ERCP findings were combined with liver histology, 26 (11% of the whole study group) patients with PSC were found, with small-duct disease included. In 23 (10% of the whole study group) patients, definite cholangiographic changes consistent with PSC were found. Eleven (48%) of these showed coexisting pancreatic duct abnormalities. The prevalence of coexisting cholangiographic and pancreatographic duct changes in the whole study group was 4.6%.


Hepatobiliary disease is at least equally common in patients with UC and CD. Coexisting cholangiographic and pancreatographic duct abnormalities in patients with IBD are relatively frequent and are considered extraintestinal manifestations of IBD.

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