Etiology of new-onset jaundice: How often is it caused by idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury in the United States?

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BACKGROUND AND AIM: The epidemiology of acute drug-induced liver injury (DILI) in the United States has not been well studied. We conducted a study of adults with new-onset jaundice at a nonreferral community hospital to better understand the epidemiology of acute DILI. METHODS: This is a retrospective study of adult outpatients and inpatients (≥18 yr) with new-onset jaundice over a 5-yr period (1999-2003) at Wishard Memorial Hospital, Indiana. Patients with new-onset jaundice were identified using our electronic medical record system and individual medical records were reviewed to extract the required clinical data. New-onset jaundice was defined as the presence of total serum bilirubin >3 mg/dL in patients without a prior total bilirubin >3 mg/dL. RESULTS: A total of 732 eligible adults constituted our study cohort. Sepsis or altered hemodynamic state resulting in presumed ischemic liver injury is the single most common cause of jaundice (22%). Acute liver disease as a result of nonalcoholic etiologies caused new-onset jaundice in 97 patients (13%), with acute viral hepatitis in 66 patients (9%) and DILI in 29 patients (4%). Most cases of DILI were as a result of acetaminophen toxicity with idiosyncratic DILI occurring in only five patients (0.7%). No mortality was observed at 6 wk in patients who developed idiosyncratic DILI. CONCLUSION: Idiosyncratic DILI appears to be a rare cause of new-onset jaundice in a community hospital setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-562
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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