Hepatic granulomas: a 15-year experience in the Royal Adelaide Hospital

Med J Aust. 1988 Jan 18;148(2):71-4. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1988.tb104510.x.


The clinical and pathological associations of hepatic granulomas in patients who presented to the Royal Adelaide Hospital between January 1, 1968 and February 29, 1984 were reviewed retrospectively. Cases of primary biliary cirrhosis were excluded. Of 59 patients with hepatic granulomas, clear associations with diseases were identified in 42 (71%) patients. These were sarcoidosis (seven cases), chronic liver disease (12 cases), biliary tract disease (three cases), tuberculosis (four cases), Q-fever (three cases), other infections (four cases), drug hypersensitivity (four cases) and neoplasms (five cases). Ten patients had multiple associations and five other patients presented without any clearly defined cause for granulomas. Three of these latter patients presented with an acute febrile illness, showed hepatomegaly and had abnormal results of liver function tests. These cases may represent the entity that is labeled "idiopathic granulomatous hepatitis". Two other patients abused alcohol. Granulomas were categorized morphologically as microgranulomas, macrogranulomas and lipogranulomas according to their size, organization and the presence of fat droplets. Microgranulomas were associated with diseases of short duration and less architectural disturbance of the liver parenchyma. The presence of granulomas did not confer any prognostic implication over and above that of the associated disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Granuloma / epidemiology
  • Granuloma / pathology*
  • Hepatomegaly / epidemiology
  • Hepatomegaly / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / epidemiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis / pathology
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic / pathology