Skip Navigation LinksHome > July 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 4 > Histopathologic Evaluation of Liver Biopsy for Cirrhosis
Advances in Anatomic Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAP.0b013e31825c6bab
Review Articles

Histopathologic Evaluation of Liver Biopsy for Cirrhosis

Ma, Changqing MD, PhD; Brunt, Elizabeth M. MD

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Abstract

In current medical practice, the clinical diagnosis of cirrhosis is rendered when a patient has suggestive imaging findings or features of portal hypertension (pHTN). Liver biopsy may be considered to assess potential underlying cause(s). Cirrhosis, however, is not the only etiology of pHTN; in fact, schistosomiasis remains a significant factor worldwide. pHTN results from obstruction of hepatic blood flow; it is classified clinically based on either the anatomic location of obstruction or hepatic venous pressure gradient measurements. The clinical categories carry clinicopathologic significances. Histopathologically, pHTN is manifest with either cirrhotic or noncirrhotic features. Noncirrhotic pHTN results from a heterogeneous group of disease processes, all of which result in vascular remodeling with variable parenchymal nodularity and fibrosis. This review summarizes liver biopsy findings of cirrhosis and possible etiologies and provides a stepwise approach for the histologic differential diagnosis of a liver biopsy done for “cirrhosis.”

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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