What is the pathophysiology of cytomegalovirus (CMV) hepatitis?

Updated: Jul 07, 2021
  • Author: Ricardo Cedeno-Mendoza, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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CMV hepatitis is defined as elevated bilirubin and/or liver enzymes levels in combination with the detection of CMV in the absence of other causes for hepatitis. [8] CMV may be detected via culture, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, or in situ hybridization. CMV PCR alone is not satisfactory for diagnosis, as a positive result may reflect transient viral shedding. [8] The first described case of CMV hepatitis involved a child with chorioretinitis, hepatosplenomegaly, and cerebral calcifications.

Hepatitis has been commonly observed in patients with primary CMV infection and mononucleosis. levels of hepatocellular enzymes may be mildly and transiently increased, and, in rare cases, jaundice may develop. The prognosis of CMV hepatitis in immunocompetent hosts is typically favorable, but death has been reported in immunosuppressed patients. Histology typically reveals mononuclear cell infiltration of the portal areas but may also reveal granulomatous inflammation. [23]

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