Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Acute Liver Failure Present in a 67-Year-Old Immunocompetent Female

Wei Zhang, Betty Chen, Yongxin Chen, Robin Chamberland, Alexa Fider-Whyte, Julia Craig, Chintalapati Varma, Alex S. Befeler, Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, Peter Horton, Jin-Ping Lai


Acute liver failure (ALF) is a rare illness with a high mortality rate. The only favorable management is emergent liver transplantation. About 13% of ALF cases have no clear etiology. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated ALF accounts for less than 1% of all ALF cases, and is seen mostly in adults younger than 40 years. There are only a few cases of EBV-associated ALF in elderly immunocompromised adults. We report a case of ALF in an immunocompetent 67-year-old woman caused by EBV infection that was treated by orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The diagnosis of EBV-associated ALF was established by EBV-DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and EBV-encoded RNA (EBER-RNA) in situ hybridization (EBER-RISH). The patient is currently doing well 6 months after transplantation without any evidence of clinical EBV infection. This case illustrates the importance of early recognition and diagnosis of EBV-associated ALF by detection of EBV from liver biopsy, especially when patients are immunocompetent and other causes are excluded. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of EBV-associated ALF present in an immunocompetent elderly female.

Gastroenterol Res. 2016;9(4-5):74-78
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14740/gr718e


Epstein-Barr virus; Acute liver failure; Liver biopsy

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