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July 8, 2019

Image challenge: Dyspepsia and increased levels of liver enzymes in a 24-year-old man

What caused an alanine aminotransferase elevation in a 24-year-old patient with no family history of liver disease?

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Gastroenterology clinical image challenge: A 24-year-old white man with depression and anxiety disorder is referred for an isolated alanine aminotransferase elevation found by his primary medical doctor on routine blood work. He denies a family history of liver disease, although he does report a family history of lupus. He denies risk factors for viral hepatitis. He drinks about three alcoholic beverages per week. His family is originally from Germany and Ireland. He denies over-the-counter medications or supplements beyond a rare use of ibuprofen. His only medication is daily escitalopram. On further questioning he also reports abdominal pain. The abdominal pain is described as dull, constant, right upper quadrant pain near his rib cage. The pain occasionally becomes worse if he eats fast foods. He also notes a three-month history of bloating and alternating bowel habits between diarrhea and constipation.

Physical examination is notable for unremarkable vital signs and a normal body mass index. He has no stigmata of chronic liver disease or hepatomegaly. He has normal bowel sounds without any tenderness to palpation. An in-office FibroScan is normal with a value of 3 kPa. Aspartate aminotransferase is 33 U/L (normal, 10–40 U/L). Viral serologies are notable for nonreactive hepatitis B surface antigen, surface antibody and core antibody. Hepatitis C virus RNA is undetectable. Ferritin, iron, and creatine kinase are normal. Thyroid-stimulating hormone, antimitochondrial antibody, and antinuclear antibody are negative. Ceruloplasmin is normal and alpha-1 antitrypsin showed MZ phenotype. An abdominal ultrasound scan shows a normal size liver, normal echotexture, and sludge in the gallbladder, without any intrahepatic or extrahepatic bile duct dilation. The extrahepatic bile duct diameter is 0.3 cm.

Anti-smooth muscle and quantitative immunoglobulins were ordered. An endoscopy is performed for abdominal pain, and duodenal endoscopic and histologic images are provided (figure).

What is the diagnosis?

To find out the diagnosis, read the full case in Gastroenterology.

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