Published online May 14, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i18.2740
Revised: December 20, 2012
Accepted: January 17, 2013
Published online: May 14, 2013
We aimed to examine the major causes of isolated chronic hypertransaminasemia in asymptomatic children and develop a comprehensive diagnostic flow diagram. A MEDLINE search inclusive of publications throughout August 2012 was performed. We found only a small number of publications that had comprehensively investigated this topic. Consequently, it was difficult to construct a diagnostic flowchart similar to those already available for adults. In children, a “retesting panel” prescription, including gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and creatine kinase in addition to aminotransferases, is considered a reasonable approach for proficiently confirming the persistence of the abnormality, ruling out cholestatic hepatopathies and myopathies, and guiding the subsequent diagnostic steps. If re-evaluation of physical and historical findings suggests specific etiologies, then these should be evaluated in the initial enzyme retesting panel. A simple multi-step diagnostic algorithm incorporating a large number of possible pediatric scenarios, in addition to the few common to adults, is available. Accurately classifying a child with asymptomatic persistent hypertransaminasemia may be a difficult task, but the results are critical for preventing the progression of an underlying, possibly occult, condition later in childhood or during transition. Given the high benefit/cost ratio of preventing hepatic deterioration, no effort should be spared in diagnosing and properly treating each case of persistent hypertransaminasemia in pediatric patients.