Fatal acute-on-chronic liver failure in amiodarone-related steatohepatitis: a case report

BMC Gastroenterol. 2021 Feb 2;21(1):50. doi: 10.1186/s12876-021-01632-9.


Background: Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic drug that has been recognized to induce hepatotoxicity. We report a case of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) in a patient who was receiving amiodarone for more than 2 years. The patient developed cirrhosis and suppurative microabscesses of the liver and died of progressive liver failure.

Case presentation: A 69-year-old woman with risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was treated with oral amiodarone at a daily dose of 400 mg for more than 2 years, until she developed epigastralgia and vomiting. Initial laboratory findings included leukocytosis and elevated liver enzymes. Images of abdominal computed tomography scan revealed diffusely increased hepatic attenuation density (in contrast to decreased density in NAFLD), hepatomegaly, periportal edema, and ascites. Liver biopsy targeting the hotspot identified through positron emission tomography confirmed the diagnosis of amiodarone-associated chronic steatohepatitis and superimposed microabscesses. The patient died of progressive ACLF despite intensive supportive care.

Conclusion: Accumulation of amiodarone can result in chronic liver disease and pose an additional risk of ACLF following infection.

Keywords: Acute-on-chronic liver failure; Amiodarone; Case report; Microabscess; Steatohepatitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute-On-Chronic Liver Failure*
  • Aged
  • Amiodarone* / adverse effects
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / drug therapy
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / drug therapy


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Amiodarone