Nodular regenerative hyperplasia of the liver in rheumatic diseases: report of seven cases and review of the literature

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1991 Aug;21(1):47-54. doi: 10.1016/0049-0172(91)90056-6.


Nodular regenerative hyperplasia (NRH) of the liver is an uncommon pathologic finding associated, in most cases, with rheumatic and hematologic diseases. Although its pathogenesis remains unclear, NRH probably results from liver regeneration to maintain its functional capacity after ischemia-induced injury. An intrahepatic microvascular occlusive mechanism has been considered most likely pathogenetically. NRH may lead to portal hypertension. Thus, the diagnosis of Felty's syndrome must be considered with caution in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and NRH of the liver. We report seven additional cases of NRH in patients with rheumatic disorders and review the literature to determine the patterns of clinical presentation and natural history of this condition. We also report four patients (three systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE] and one primary antiphospholipid syndrome [PAPS]) in whom antiphospholipid antibodies may have played a role in the genesis of NRH.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver Diseases / complications*
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Liver Regeneration
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications*
  • Scleroderma, Localized / complications