Tuberculosis and hepatic steatosis are prevalent liver pathology findings among HIV-infected patients in South Africa

Christopher J. Hoffmann, Jennifer D. Hoffmann, Caroline Kensler, Martin Der Van Watt, Tanvier Omar, Richard E. Chaisson, Neil A. Martinson, Ebrahim Variava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Liver disease epidemiology in sub-Saharan Africa has shifted as a result of HIV and the increased use of antiretroviral therapy leading to a need for updated data on common causes of liver disease. We retrospectively reviewed records from all hospitalized patients who had liver biopsy at a single hospital in South Africa from 2001 to 2009 and compared diagnosis by HIV status. During the period of study 262 patients had liver biopsy, 108 (41%) were HIV-infected, 25 (10%) were HIV-sero-negative, and 129 (49%) had unknown or unrecorded HIV status. Overall 81% of biopsies provided additional diagnostic data. Malignancy was the most common finding reported on 56 (21%) biopsies followed by granuloma or TB, hepatic steatosis, and fibrosis or cirrhosis. HIV-infected patients were more likely to have granulomas and steatosis. Half of patients with granulomas were already on TB treatment, suggesting paradoxical reactions or drug induced liver injury may have been important causes of liver inflammation among these patients. We note that TB, paradoxical reactions during TB treatment, possible drug induced liver injury, and hepatic steatosis are important causes of liver pathology among HIV-infected hospitalized patients with unclear etiology of liver disease after initial assessment. Among HIV sero-negative patients, malignancy was the major cause of liver disease. Our findings re-enforce the importance of TB as a diagnosis among HIV-infected individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0117813
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 10 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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