Background A group of non-cirrhotic chronic liver diseases, all with sustained portal hypertension and clinically mistaken as cirrhosis, have been described under various names, apparently because of differences in pathological features. The pathogenesis is uncertain and they were believed to have a good prognosis until it was recently shown, from study of explant livers, that they had progressed to end stage disease, needing liver transplantation.
Aims To describe detailed morphological features of such end stage non-cirrhotic disease and examine whether the diseases bearing various names are different or represent variable morphological expressions of one entity.
Methods Morphological features of 10 native explant livers from patients with pre-transplant diagnosis of end stage cirrhosis but finally categorised as non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis were analysed along with the relevant clinical information.
Results Besides absence of criteria for cirrhosis, variable grades of obliterative changes in portal vein branches and portal fibrosis were consistently seen in all livers. Fibrous intimal thickening with luminal compromise in some medium and large sized portal veins was randomly distributed but appeared characteristic of this disease, very likely representing organised mural thrombi. Areas of closely placed nodular hyperplastic parenchyma separated by compressed hepatocytes, megasinusoids and peliotic changes were seen only in a proportion of cases.
Conclusion Non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis is a justifiable name for this disease that can progress to end stage liver disease. It represents a single entity that has been considered as different diseases and given various names on the basis of the dominant element in its heterogeneous morphological manifestation.
- obliterative portal venopathy
- liver disease
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.