The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of cholangiography in men with chronic cholestasis and positive antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) titers who were suspected of having primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). The authors reviewed retrospectively the records of men who had positive AMA titers over a 16-month period to determine the results of cholangiography. They also reviewed the records of 102 patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) from 1989 to 1995 who had undergone cholangiography and testing for AMA. Of 35 men with positive tests for serum AMA, 12 of these patients were referred for cholangiography (11 endoscopic and 1 transhepatic). All completed cholangiograms were normal. A diagnosis of PBC was made in nine patients and atypical autoimmune hepatitis in one. Conversely, only two PSC patients had positive AMA titers (1:20 and 1:80). Both of these patients had coexisting inflammatory bowel disease and cholangiograms diagnostic of PSC. Cholangiography was negative in the male patients with positive AMA titers who were suspected of having PBC. In men with cholestatic liver biochemistries and strongly positive AMA titers, especially in the absence of associated inflammatory bowel disease, routine cholangiography does not add to the diagnostic evaluation.
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
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