Hepatobiliary disease in cystic fibrosis patients with pancreatic sufficiency



Focal and multilobular biliary cirrhosis are considered pathognomonic of cystic fibrosis (CF) and almost invariably have been reported in patients with steatorrhea. In contrast, patients with pancreatic sufficiency and normal absorption are considered less likely to develop liver or biliary tract problems. The authors report three patients with CF and pancreatic sufficiency, presenting with recurrent abdominal pain (unrelated to pancreatitis). All had common bile duct disease, one with multilobular cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Pancreatic sufficiency was proven by quantitative pancreatic stimulation tests, 3-day fecal fat analyses, and serum pancreatic isoamylases. All three patients had mild lung disease. Two were homozygous for the common ΔF508 mutation, and the other, a ΔF508 compound heterozygote. Hepatobiliary structure and function were determined by serial hepatobiliary scintigraphy, percutaneous transhepatic cholecystography, and biochemical liver function tests. Patients 1 and 3 had mild hepatomegaly, normal liver biochemistry, and distal common bile duct strictures. Patient 2 had a firm nodular liver with splenomegaly, abnormal liver biochemistry, and a cholangiographic appearance of sclerosing cholangitis. All have undergone operative treatment for persistent abdominal pain. These cases confirm the occurrence of common bile duct pathology and liver disease in patients with CF and pancreatic sufficiency. They demonstrate that liver and biliary tract disease can occur independently of the underlying disease severity and the presence of steatorrhea. Further, they suggest that obstruction of the biliary tract may be an additional factor in the evolution of liver disease in CF. (HEPATOLOGY 1995; 21:963–969.)