Indexed on: 24 Nov '11Published on: 24 Nov '11Published in: World journal of gastroenterology
To investigate whether systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with benign focal liver lesions and vascular liver diseases, since these have been occasionally reported in SLE patients.Thirty-five consecutive adult patients with SLE and 35 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were evaluated. Hepatic and portal vein patency and presence of focal liver lesions were studied by colour-Doppler ultrasound, computerized tomography and magnetic resonance were used to refine the diagnosis, clinical data of SLE patients were reviewed.Benign hepatic lesions were common in SLE patients (54% vs 14% controls, P < 0.0001), with hemangioma being the most commonly observed lesion in the two groups. SLE was associated with the presence of single hemangioma [odds ratios (OR) 5.05; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.91-13.38] and multiple hemangiomas (OR 4.13; 95% CI 1.03-16.55). Multiple hemangiomas were associated with a longer duration of SLE (9.9 ± 6.5 vs 5.5 ± 6.4 years; P = 0.04). Imaging prior to SLE onset was available in 9 patients with SLE and hemangioma, showing absence of lesions in 7/9. The clinical data of our patients suggest that SLE possibly plays a role in the development of hemangioma. In addition, a Budd-Chiari syndrome associated with nodular regenerative hyperplasia (NRH), and a NRH associated with hepatic hemangioma were observed, both in patients hospitalized for abdominal symptoms, suggesting that vascular liver diseases should be specifically investigated in this population.SLE is associated with 5-fold increased odds of liver hemangiomas, suggesting that these might be considered among the hepatic manifestations of SLE.