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May 1987

Marked Hyperbilirubinemia in Infectious Mononucleosis: Analysis of Laboratory Data in Seven Patients

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(5):850-853. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370050046008

• While mild to moderate hepatic dysfunction is commonly encountered in infectious mononucleosis induced by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), clinical jaundice with high bilirubin levels (≥6.0 mg/dL [≥103 μmol/L]) is only occasionally encountered. In this study, seven patients with primary EBV infections had peak bilirubin levels of 10.2 to 23.0 mg/dL (174 to 393 μmol/L) and, for the most part, presented initial diagnostic problems. Complications included the virus-associated hemophagocytic syndrome and acute respiratory distress syndrome in one patient and transient renal failure in another. The laboratory data suggested that a combination of hemolysis and viral-induced cholestasis was responsible for the intense hyperbilirubinemia in at least five patients. Physicians should be aware that marked hyperbilirubinemia can occur with EBV-induced infectious mononucleosis and, thereby, obviate the need for costly diagnostic laboratory tests and, occasionally, invasive procedures.

(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:850-853)