Chronic hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis occurs in 5%-10% of HBV infections and in well over 50% of HCV; it does not occur in HAV. Most chronic disease is due to chronic persistent hepatitis. The chronic form  is more likely to occur in the very old or very young, in males, in immunocompromised hosts, in Down's syndrome, and in dialysis patients.

a. Chronic persistent hepatitis is a benign, self-limited disease with a prolonged recovery. Patients are asymptomatic except for elevated transaminases. 

b. Chronic active hepatitis features chronic inflammation with hepatocyte destruction, resulting in cirrhosis and liver failure. 
(1) Etiology. HBV, HCV, HDV, drug toxicity, Wilson's disease, alcohol, a,-antitrypsin deficiency, and autoimmune  hepatitis are common etiologies.
(2) Clinical features may include fatigue, fever, malaise, anorexia, and elevated liver function tests. 
(3) Diagnosis is made by liver biopsy.

8. Carrier state for HBV and HCV may be either asymptomatic or with liver disease; in the latter case, the patient has elevate transaminases.
a. Incidence is most common in immunodeficient, drug addicted, Down's syndrome, and dialysis patients. 
b. Pathology of asymptomatic carriers shows "ground-glass"" hepatocytes with finely granular eosinophilic cytoplasm.

Related Questions GI , Liver and Biliary Tract

Acute viral hepatitis
Clinical features.
Acute viral hepatitis may be icteric or anicteric. Symptoms include malaise, anorexia, fever, nausea, upper abdominal pain, and hepatomegaly, followed by jaundice, putty-colored stools, and dark urine.
In HBV, patients may have urticaria, arthralgias, arthritis, vasculitis, and glomerulonephritis (because of circulating immune complexes). Blood tests show elevated serum bilirubin (if icteric), elevated transaminases, and alkaline phosphatase.
The acute illness usually lasts 4-6 weeks. 


(1) Grossly, there is an enlarged liver with a tense capsule. 
(2) Microscopically, there is ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes and liver cell necrosis. 

Salivary gland pathology


a. Sialolithiasis produces a secondary inflammatory reaction  to obstruction and the resultant enlargement of ducts by stones. It may be complicated by actual infection with mouth flora. 

b. Sialadenitis is a primary inflammatory reaction, but it is not always infectious. It may be part of an autoimmune disease  (e.g., Sjogren's syndrome), or the result of bacterial or virals (e.g., mumps) infection. 

Sjögren’s syndrome

a. An autoimmune disease of the salivary and lacrimal glands.
b. Autonuclear antibodies (ANAs) against salivary ducts may be seen.
c. Triad of symptoms include:
(1) Xerostomia—from decreased saliva production.
(2) Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes)—from decreased tear production.
(3) Rheumatoid arthritis.
(4) Enlargement of the salivary or lacrimal glands, known as Mikulicz syndrome, may also be observed. 

d. Histologically, a dense infiltration of the gland by lymphocytes is observed.


The parotid gland accounts for more than three-quarters of these tumors, most of which are benign. Of the remainder, more occur in the submandibular gland than in the sublingual, and most of these are malignant. Many are surgically, cured, but local recurrence is common. 

a. Pleomorphic adenoma is generally benign and accounts for approximately three-quarters of all salivary gland tumors. If  is composed of multiple epithelial and mesenchymal cell types. Complications may arise due to involvement of cranial nerve VII. 

(a) The most common salivary gland tumor.
(b) Is benign.
(c) Prognosis is good after proper surgical excision.

b. Warthin's tumor (adenolymphoma) is also benign, occuring almost exclusively in the parotid gland. It is grossly cystic.

Microscopic examination reveals cell types suggestive of branchial cleft origin embedded in a lymphoid matrix. 

c. Mucoepidermoid tumors also occur primarily in the parotid and have a high rate of malignant transformation.The malignant component is usually squamous cell.  Prognosis of tumor depends on grade and stage of disease.

d. Cylindroma (adenoid cysticc. Mucoepidermoid tumors carcinoma) is more common in the minor salivary glands found in the oral mucosa, and metastases are more common than in other tumors of the salivary glands. Facial nerve complications are frequent. 
(1) Grossly, the tumor forms multiple lobules surrounded by a capsule. 
(2) Microscopically, small cells form glands containin mucoid material 

Hepatitis C virus.

 It is most often mild and anicteric but occasionally severe with fulminant hepatic failure. It is caused an RNA virus, which may be transmitted parenterally (a cause of post-transfusion hepatitis); the route of transmission undetermined in 40%-50% of cases
a. 90% of blood transfusion-related hepatitis is caused by hepatitis C.
b. 50% progress to chronic disease.
c. Increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma.

d. Incubation period: ranges from 2 to 26 weeks, but averages 8 weeks.
-  Antibody is detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent,assay (ELISA). The incubation period is between 2 and weeks with peak onset of illness 6-8 weeks after infection 
- Most patients progress to chronic liver disease, specifically chronic persistent hepatitis or chronic active hepatitis 
- Cirrhosis is common in patients with chronic active hepatitis and occurs in 20%-25% of infected patients. HCV is also associated with hepatocellular carcinoma.

e. Treatment and prevention: α-interferon is used to treat chronic hepatitis C. There is currently no vaccine available.


Congenital malformations 
1. A tracheoesophageal fistula (the most prevalent esophageal anomaly) occurs most commonly as an upper esophageal blind pouch with a fistula between the lower segment of the esophagus and the trachea. It is associated with hydramnios, congenital heart disease, and other gastrointestinal malformation. 

2. Esophageal atresia is associated with VATER syndrome (vertebra1 defects, anal atresia, tracheoesophageal fistula, and renal dysplasia)

3. Stenosis refers to a narrowed esophagus with a small lumen.  lt may be congenital or acquired, e.g., through trauma or inflammation. 

Inflammatory disorders 


most often involves the lower half of the esophagus.  Caused by the reflux of gastric contents (juices) into the lower esophagus. One of the most common GI disorders.

Clinical features. 

Patients experience substernal burning  associated with regurgitation, mild anemia, dysphagia,  hematemesis, and melena. Esophagitis may predispose to esophageal cancer. 


- Reflux esophagitis is due to an incompetent lower esophageal sphincter that permits reflux of gastric juice into the lower esophagus. 
- Irritants such as citric acid, hot liquids, alcohol, smoking, corrosive chemicals, and certain drugs, such as tetracycline, may provoke inflammation. 
- Infectious etiologies include herpes, CMV, and C. albicans. The immunocompromised host is particularly susceptible to infectious esophagitis. 
Although chronic or severe reflux disease is uncommon, consequences of these conditions can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, development of a stricture, or hemorrhage.


-Grossly, there is hyperemia, edema, inflammation, and superficial necrosis. 

Complications include ulceration, bleeding, stenosis, and squamous carcinoma. 

Treatment: diet control, antacids, and medications that decrease the production of gastric acid (e.g., H blockers).

Barrett's esophagus, 

gastric or intestinal columnar epithelium replaces normal squamous epithelium in response to  chronic reflux.- A complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Histologic findings include the replacement of squamous epithelium with metaplastic columnar epithelium.
- Complications include increased incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma, stricture formation, or hemorrhage (ulceration).

 Motor disorders. 

Normal motor function requires effective peristalsis and relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. 

Achalasia is a lack of relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which may be associated with aperistalsis of the esophagus and increased basal tone of the LES. 

Clinical features. Achalasia occurs most commonly between the ages of 30 and 50. Typical symptoms are dysphagia, regurgitation, aspiration, and chest pain. The lack of motility promotes stagnation and predisposes to carcinoma. 

Hiatal hernia is the herniation of the abdominal esophagus, the stomach, or both, through the esophageal hiatus in the  diaphragm.

Scleroderma is a collagen vascular disease, seen primarily in women, that causes subcutaneous fibrosis and widespread  degenerative changes. (A mild variant is known as CREST syndrome which stands for calcinosis. raynaud's phenomenon , esophageal dysfunction, sclerodactyly and telengectseia. esophagus is the most frequently involved region of the gastrointestinal tract.

Clinical features are mainly dysphagia and heartburn due to reflux oesophagitis caused by aperlistalsis and incompetent LES. 

Rings and webs 

1. Webs are mucosal folds in the upper esophagus above the aortic arch. 
2. Schatzki rings are mucosal rings at the squamocolumnarjunction below the aortic arch.
3. Plummer Vinson Syndrome consist of triad of dysphagia, atrophic glossitis, and anemia. Webs are found in the upper esophagus. The syndrome is associated specifically with iron deficiency anemia and sometimes hypochlorhydria. Patients are at increased risk for carcinoma of the pharynx or esophagus. 

Mallory-Weiss syndrome
Mallory-Weiss tears refers to small mucosal tears at the gastroesophageal junction secondary to recurrent forceful vomiting. The tears occur along the long axis an result in hematemesis (sometimes massive).

- Characterized by lacerations (tears) in the esophagus.
- Most commonly occurs from vomiting (alcoholics).
- A related condition, known as Boerhaave syndrome, occurs when the esophagus ruptures, causing massive upper GI hemorrhage.

Esophageal varices
- The formation of varices (collateral channels) occurs from portal hypertension.
Causes of portal hypertension include blockage of the portal vein or liver disease (cirrhosis).
- Rupture of esophageal varices results in massive hemorrhage into the esophagus and hematemesis.
- Common in patients with liver cirrhosis.

are sac-like protrusions of one or more layers of  pharyngeal or esophageal wall. 

- Benign tumors are rare. 
- Carcinoma of the esophagus most commonly occurs after 50 and has a male:female ratio of 4.1. 

Etiology: alcohal ingestion, smoking, nitrosamines in food, achalasia , web ring, Barrettes esophagus, and deficiencies of vitamins A and C , riboflavin, and some trace minerals

Clinical features include dysphagia (first to solids), retrosternal pain, anorexia, weight loss, melena, and symptoms secondary to metastases. 


- 50% occur in the middle third of the esophagus, 30% in the lower third, and 20% in the upper third. Most esophageal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. 
Adenocarcinomas arise mostly out of Barrett's esophagus.


is poor. Fewer than 10% of patients survive 5 years, usually because diagnosis is made at a late stage. The  most common sites of metastasis are the liver and lung. The combination of cigarette smoking and alcohol is particularly causative for esophageal cancer (over l00%  risk compared to nondrinkers/nonsmokers). 

Hepatic failure 
Etiology. Chronic hepatic disease (e.g., chronic active hepatitis or alcoholic cirrhosis) is the most common cause of hepatic failure although acute liver disease may also be responsible.

- Widespread liver necrosis may be seen with carbon tetrachloride and acetaminophen toxicity. Widespread steatosis is seen in Reye's syndrome, a cause of acute liver failure most often seen in children with a recent history of aspirin ingestion for an unrelated viral illness. 
- Massive necrosis may also be seen in acute viral hepatitis, after certain anesthetic agents, and in shock from any cause. 

Clinical features. Hepatic failure causes jaundice, musty odor of breath and urine, encephalopathy, renal failure (either by simultaneous toxicity to the liver and kidneys or the hepatorerial syndrome), palmar erythema, spider angiomas, gynecomastia , testicular atrophy