Published online Jan 28, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i4.1357
Peer-review started: May 7, 2015
First decision: August 31, 2015
Revised: October 7, 2015
Accepted: November 30, 2015
Article in press: December 1, 2015
Published online: January 28, 2016
Liver biopsy evaluation plays a critical role in management of patients with viral hepatitis C. In patients with acute viral hepatitis, a liver biopsy, though uncommonly performed, helps to rule out other non-viral causes of deranged liver function. In chronic viral hepatitis C, it is considered the gold standard in assessment of the degree of necroinflammation and the stage of fibrosis, to help guide treatment and determine prognosis. It also helps rule out any concomitant diseases such as steatohepatitis, hemochromatosis or others. In patients with chronic progressive liver disease with cirrhosis and dominant nodules, a targeted liver biopsy is helpful in differentiating a regenerative nodule from dysplastic nodule or hepatocellular carcinoma. In the setting of transplantation, the liver biopsy helps distinguish recurrent hepatitis C from acute rejection and also is invaluable in the diagnosis of fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis, a rare variant of recurrent hepatitis C. This comprehensive review discusses the entire spectrum of pathologic findings in the course of hepatitis C infection.
Core tip: The manuscript is a comprehensive review of liver pathology of hepatitis C infection. It delves into the historical literature and terminology of chronic viral hepatitis. It further focuses on the entire spectrum of histopathological findings related to different stages of hepatitis C infection. The diagnostic dilemmas in a post-transplantation setting such as recurrent hepatitis C, are also addressed. Relevant illustrations and tables support the histological descriptions. This article would be of educational benefit for pathologists as well as hepatologists.