In a 15-year period at the Riley Hospital for Children, granulomas were found in 23 (4%) of a total of 521 liver biopsies. An etiology was identified in 87%: Histoplasma was diagnosed in 15 cases (65%) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on paraffin-embedded tissue, serology, and special stains; sarcoidosis was diagnosed in four cases; and schistosomiasis was diagnosed in one case. Serial liver biopsies were available from five patients; granulomas occurred in only one biopsy of the series from each patient. Extrahepatic tissue from six patients contained granulomas, and an etiology for the liver granulomas was identified in all six patients (four histoplasmosis, two sarcoidosis). The extrahepatic tissue from two patients with Histoplasma was diagnostic. We made the following conclusions: that PCR is applicable to archival material and greatly increases the yield of specific infectious diagnoses of liver granulomas compared with conventional diagnostic methods (65 versus 22%); that the infections causing liver granulomas are those that are endemic in a community (e.g., Histoplasma in Indiana); that Histoplasma can coexist with a wide variety of systemic and primary liver diseases; that the likelihood of identifying a cause of liver granulomas is increased if there are extrahepatic granulomas; and that hepatic granulomas may have a limited life span. Treatment of liver granulomas should be determined by the clinical setting and directed at the underlying cause.
- Granulomatous hepatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine