Hepatic lidocaine metabolism and liver histology in patients with chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis

Hepatology. 1994 Apr;19(4):933-40.


Recent advances in the medical and surgical treatment of chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis have made it increasingly important to develop noninvasive tests of liver function. Our study has evaluated the hepatic conversion of lidocaine to its primary metabolite monoethylglycinexylodide and compared this with liver histological findings in 225 patients with chronic hepatitis (161 with hepatitis C, 23 with hepatitis B, 21 with autoimmune hepatitis and 20 with cryptogenic hepatitis). One hundred seven (47.7%) patients had cirrhosis at the time of evaluation. A decline in monoethylglycinexylodide production was observed with worsening liver histological conditions from a mean of 81.5 +/- 7.0 ng/ml in patients with chronic persistent hepatitis to 61.2 +/- 5.5 ng/ml for chronic active hepatitis and 20.9 +/- 1.5 ng/ml in patients with cirrhosis (p < 0.05). A further stepwise decline in monoethylglycine xylodide production was observed with worsening Child class: from 25.5 +/- 2.2 ng/ml for class A patients to 8.9 +/- 1.4 ng/ml for patients with Child class C disease (p < 0.05). All patients with monoethylglycinexylodide production less than 20 ng/ml had cirrhosis confirmed on histological examination. In contrast, no relationship was observed between liver histological status and serum transaminases (AST or ALT), bilirubin, albumin and prothrombin time. Thirty-five patients underwent repeat histological evaluation and monoethylglycinexylodide testing after receiving at least 6 mo treatment for chronic hepatitis (interferon for hepatitis B and C and corticosteroids for autoimmune hepatitis). The change in monoethylglycinexylodide production observed in these patients was a linear function of the change in Knodell histological index (r = 0.73, p < 0.005).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hepatitis / metabolism*
  • Hepatitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Lidocaine / blood
  • Lidocaine / metabolism
  • Lidocaine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Function Tests / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Lidocaine
  • monoethylglycinexylidide
  • Alanine Transaminase