Volume 47, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The impact of dengue on liver function was studied by biochemical tests on 125 male and 145 female patients diagnosed with this disease during an outbreak that extended from November 1987 to December 1988. Abnormal levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (G-GT) were observed in 93.3%, 82.2%, 7.2%, 16.3% and 83.0% of the patients, respectively. The elevation of transaminases was mild to moderate in most cases, but was 10-fold greater than the normal upper limit for AST and ALT in 11.1% and 7.4% of the patients, respectively. Initially, the level of AST was greater than that of ALT, increasing to maximum levels nine days after the onset of symptoms, then decreasing to normal levels within two weeks. Results of the biochemical tests did not differ significantly between the cases with and without hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus infection, but significantly higher elevations of AST, ALT, and G-GT were observed in patients with episodes of bleeding. Liver biopsies of two patients showed features of lobular hepatitis. Of the five fatal cases, three died of hepatic failure. It is concluded that dengue fever may cause hepatic injury and transaminase elevation similar to that in patients with conventional viral hepatitis. In epidemic or endemic areas, dengue fever infection should be considered in the differential diagnosis of hepatitis.


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