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February 8, 1965

Needle Biopsy in Differential Diagnosis of Acute Liver Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and the laboratories of the Los Angeles and the John Wesley County hospitals, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1965;191(6):480-486. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080060054010

A cute liver disease may be defined as any one of several clinicopathological entities that makes itself known by the sudden onset of jaundice in a previously symptomless patient. Fever, hepatomegaly, and liver tenderness are common but not always present. Acute disease in which the patient is anicteric is not often brought to the attention of the surgical pathologist. Patients with chronic liver disease who become acutely jaundiced form another important group and often it is the jaundice that brings them to the clinician for the first time. The problem in differential diagnosis may be most difficult in patients with acute liver disease, and sometimes cannot be solved by a careful history, physical examination, or extensive laboratory tests. Clinicians believe that further valuable information may be obtained in many patients by the use of a needle biopsy of the liver. Even when the correct diagnosis is suspected, a needle biopsy