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Peliosis hepatis

Wissam Bleibel, MD
Michael P Curry, MD
Section Editor
Sanjiv Chopra, MD, MACP
Deputy Editor
Kristen M Robson, MD, MBA, FACG


Peliosis hepatis is a rare vascular condition of the liver characterized by the presence of cystic blood-filled cavities distributed randomly throughout the liver parenchyma [1]. The term originates from the Greek "pelios," which means blue/black or discolored extravasated blood [2]. Peliosis is most commonly found in the liver but can also involve the spleen, bone marrow, lungs, abdominal lymph nodes, and other organs [1,3].


The epidemiology of peliosis hepatis (PH) is incompletely understood since most patients are asymptomatic and remain undiagnosed. PH is often an incidental finding on abdominal imaging or autopsy.

Some studies have described the prevalence of PH in patients with associated conditions, which include pulmonary tuberculosis, carcinomatosis, HIV infection, aplastic anemia treated with anabolic steroids, systemic lupus erythematosus treated with high-dose glucocorticoids, and patients who underwent renal transplantation [1,2,4-10] (see 'Etiology' below). The following illustrate the range of findings:

The prevalence was 0.2 percent in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis [1,4]

Five cases of PH were observed in a study of 17,000 patients with HIV infection [11]


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Literature review current through: Jan 2017. | This topic last updated: Fri Mar 04 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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