Primary sclerosing cholangitis: An experience from India


Correspondence: Professor JB Dilawari, Head, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, PGIMER, Chandigarh-160 012, India.


Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is considered to be rare in India. The aim of the present study was to investigate the incidence, clinical profile and outcome of PSC seen in a tertiary care centre. Over a period of 10 years (July, 1984-June, 1994) 18 patients of PSC were diagnosed at cholangiography (14 patients by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, two patients by percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography and two patients by both methods). The presence of secondary causes, such as choledocholithiasis, biliary tract surgery, congenital biliary tract anomalies, cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic diseases, were excluded. These patients were evaluated retrospectively with respect to their clinical presentation, radiological findings, presence of associated idiopathic ulcerative colitis (IUC), treatment instituted and outcome. The mean (±s.d.) age at diagnosis of PSC was 39.0 (±16.1) years with a male: female ratio of 1.57:1. Nine (50%) patients had associated IUC. The diagnosis of IUC preceded that of PSC in all but one case. Fifteen (83.3%) patients had cholestatic jaundice at presentation, while three (16.7%) patients had asymptomatic rise of alkaline phosphatase. Three (16.7%) patients had recurrent cholangitis and five (27.8%) patients developed portal hypertension during the course of the disease. At cholangiography, intrahepatic radicles were involved in all and extrahepatic radicles in 12 (66.6%) cases. Patients were managed with steroids (n= 7), colchicine (n= 3), ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA; n= 2) and methotrexate (n= 1), along with symptomatic measures. Mean duration of follow up available in 11 (61%) patients was 20.1 months (range: 1 month-8 years). Four (36.4%) patients died. Steroids and colchicine did not have any effect while the one patient on UDCA and one on methotrexate showed improvement. In conclusion, in India PSC does not seem to be a rare entity. Its clinical profile and outcome are somewhat similar to those seen in Western countries.