Cystic Calcifications of the Liver in Colombia. Echinococcosis or Calcified Abscesses?

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Six cases of accidentally diagnosed cystic calcification of the liver were studied. Four of the patients were Colombian and the other two, an Argentinian and a German, had lived in Colombia for years. The calcifications were all very similar and in endemic areas of hydatid disease would have been considered to be calcified hydatids. Five of the patients were alive and in good health but one of the Colombian patients died of a carcinoma of the prostate. A non-specific calcified cyst containing no hydatid elements was found at autopsy.

It is believed that the non-Colombian patients may have calcified hydatid cysts (dead in one case and alive in the other) because of the endemicity of this disease in their countries of origin, their history, and the results of the intradermal and serological tests for hydatidosis. On the other hand, it is thought that the Colombian patients may have calcified abscesses, possibly amebic, because of the pathological findings in one of them, a history compatible with poorly treated amebic liver abscess in two of them (one still having a positive hemagglutination test for amebiasis), and the negative results of the serological study for hydatid disease. Furthermore, in Colombia Echinococcus granulosus hydatid disease has not been recognized but amebic liver abscess is fairly common.

Author Notes

International Center for Medical Research and Training, Tulane University, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

Centro Médico, Cali, Colombia.

Centro Médico de Cali and Departamento Médico del Instituto Colombiano de Seguros Sociales, Cali, Colombia.