Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) in the Differential for Fulminant Hepatic Failure


Following an elective transphenoidal resection of a pituitary tumor, a 66-year-old Hispanic male acutely developed fulminant hepatic failure and severe coagulopathy. He received parenteral corticosteroids the day prior to surgery, and was first noted to have significant coagulopathy intraoperatively. Despite aggressive workup and treatment for fulminant hepatic failure, the patient developed multiorgan failure by post-operative day 2, and expired on post-operative day 3. On post-mortem examination, hemorrhagic necrosis of the liver was noted and microscopic examination revealed Cowdry type A inclusions, consistent with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infection. This diagnosis was subsequently confirmed by immunehistochemistry. Fulminant hepatic failure due to HSV is a rare but highly fatal disease if untreated. Most case reports include only immunocompromised or pregnant patients. However, the lack of clinical suspicion in this previously healthy patient may have delayed prompt treatment with antiviral agents. It is important to raise the awareness of this rare and life-threatening, but potentially treatable, etiology when clinicians are faced with acute idiopathic fulminant hepatic failure.

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Ergle, K. , Caruso, L. , Burt, M. , Desai, B. and Patel, R. (2015) Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) in the Differential for Fulminant Hepatic Failure. Case Reports in Clinical Medicine, 4, 63-68. doi: 10.4236/crcm.2015.42015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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