IPLab:Lab 5:Hemochromatosis

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Clinical Summary[edit]

This 61-year-old female was first admitted to the hospital because of ascites and pedal edema. A liver biopsy revealed a marked intracellular accumulation of iron. The serum iron concentration was reported as 220 mcg/dL. On the basis of these studies, the diagnosis of hemochromatosis was made. It should be noted that the patient also exhibited an abnormal glucose tolerance test at this time (following the ingestion of a test dose of glucose, the blood glucose level rose to 290 mg/dL at one hour and remained at this level for the next three hours). Subsequent to the first admission, the patient was admitted on several occasions for ascites. The patient's last admission was necessitated by the development of symptoms and signs of hepatic failure (hepatic coma) characterized by jaundice and coma.

Autopsy Findings[edit]

The liver weighed 820 grams. The cut surface was described as golden-brown in color, having a fine, diffuse nodularity, and being extremely firm in consistency.


Virtual Microscopy[edit]


Liver: Hemochromatosis[edit]

Normal Liver[edit]

Prussian Blue[edit]

Study Questions[edit]

Additional Resources[edit]


Journal Articles[edit]


Related IPLab Cases[edit]

Normal serum iron levels are 35 to 160 micrograms/dL.

The glucose tolerance test (GTT) is a measure of active insulin and also reflects the power of normal liver to absorb and store large amounts of glucose. Following the administration of a 75-gram dose of glucose, blood glucose levels should return to normal in less than 3 hours.

After glucose challenge, the blood glucose level should be back to 110 to 180 mg/dL by 2 hours.

Jaundice (or icterus) is a state of hyperbilirubinemia (increased bilirubin in the blood) in which bile pigment is deposited in the skin, mucous membranes, and scleras. This deposition of bile pigment results in a yellow appearance.

A normal liver weighs 1650 grams (range: 1500 to 1800 grams).

Cirrhosis is a liver disease characterized by necrosis, fibrosis, loss of normal liver architecture, and hyperplastic nodules.