Published online Jul 14, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i26.4257
Revised: March 19, 2013
Accepted: April 3, 2013
Published online: July 14, 2013
Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a potentially deadly disease; recent studies have shown that the endemic area of Echinococcus multilocularis, its causative agent, is larger than previously known. This disease has low prevalence and remains underreported in Europe. Emerging clinical data show that diagnostic difficulties are still common. We report on a 76-year old patient suffering from AE lesions restricted to the left lobe of the liver who underwent a curative extended left hemihepatectomy. Prior to the resection a liver biopsy under the suspicion of an atypical malignancy was performed. After the intervention he developed a pseudoaneurysm of the hepatic artery that was successfully coiled. Surprisingly, during surgery, the macroscopic appearance of the tumour revealed a growth pattern that was rather typical for cystic echinococcosis (CE), i.e., a gross tumour composed of multiple large vesicles with several centimeters in diameter. In addition, there were neither extensive adhesions nor infiltrations of the neighboring pancreas and diaphragm as was expected from previous imaging results. The unexpected diagnosis of AE was confirmed by definite histopathology, specific polymerase chain reaction and serology results. This is a rare case of unusual macroscopic presentation of AE that posed immense diagnostic challenges and had an eventful course. To our knowledge this is the first case of an autochthonous infection in this particular geographic area of Germany, the federal state of Saxony. This report may provide new hints for an expanding area of risk for AE and emphasizes the risk of complications in the scope of diagnostic procedures and the limitations of modern radiological imaging.
Core tip: We describe a rare case of uncommon macroscopic presentation of autochthonous infection with Echinococcus multilocularis that posed immense diagnostic challenges and had an eventful course. To our knowledge this is the first case of an autochthonous infection in this geographic area. This report may deliver new hints for an expanding area of risk for alveolar echinococcosis and emphasizes the risk of complications in the scope of diagnostic procedures and the limitations of modern imaging techniques.