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Sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis--a disease spectrum?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annals of Surgery
0003-4932
Publisher
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
Volume
186
Issue
5
Pages
589–593
Identifiers
PMID: 921353
Source
Medline

Abstract

Sclerosing diseases of the biliary system encompass a spectrum ranging from primary sclerosing cholangitis (usually of the extrahepatic biliary tree) to primary biliary cirrhosis of the intrahepatic bile canaliculi. In a study of 35 patients with primary intra- and extrahepatic biliary sclerosis, age of onset, sex distribution, symptomatology, associated diseases, radiographic abnormalities and chemical profile were considered. The difficulty of differentiating sclerosing cholangitis and biliary cirrhosis from other causes of obstructive jaundice preoperatively was stressed, in addition to points of differential clinical and laboratory findings. The etiology of these entities as well as the possibility that they represent variant clinical manifestations of the same disease process were also considered. Mechanical and pharmacological treatment alternatives that were attempted included drainage procedures, the easiest and most widely used of which was the T-tube. However, this could prove to be a source of infection and should therefore be removed early, inasmuch as cholangitis represents a major cause of morbidity. Steroids have been used with varying effectiveness; subjective improvement was generally attained, although objective improvement has been difficult to document. When choleuretics and cholestyramine were administered, we noted significant palliation. Antibiotics were reserved for treatment of cholangitis. Until the underlying etiology of this rare malignant sclerosing process is found, only symptomatic treatment can be offered.

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