Acute Hepatic Failure and Epididymitis in a Hispanic Patient With Active Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Beau M. Bailey, Kenneth S. Ramos, Alice Johnson, Charlene Mitchell


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease known to affect a variety of organ systems. Patients with SLE are more prone to developing common infections that can mimic the complications of SLE. As such, it is essential to differentiate complications of SLE from infection to ensure appropriate management and to improve morbidity and mortality of this patient population. Here we present a 24-year-old, Hispanic male, with SLE complicated by dialysis-dependent end-stage renal disease and dilated cardiomyopathy. The patient presented to the emergency room with nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and admitted to the medicine service. Initial evaluation showed hypoalbuminemia coupled with elevated transaminases, INR, and total bilirubin consistent with acute liver failure. Further evaluation was negative for viral, toxic, metabolic, or vascular causes of acute failure. The patient was diagnosed with lupus hepatitis and associated acute hepatic failure, and started on high dose prednisone (60 mg daily). Complete resolution of liver function and symptoms was observed within 1 week at follow-up. The patient was readmitted 2 weeks after discharge with left scrotal pain and swelling after abruptly decreasing the prescribed prednisone dose 3 days after discharge. Physical exam and scrotal ultrasound in the emergency department were consistent with epididymitis. Urinalysis, urine culture, and gonorrhea and chlamydia PCR were all negative. Without evidence of infection, and upon reconfirmation of low serum complement levels, the patient was diagnosed with lupus epididymitis and restarted on high dose prednisone. Complete resolution of symptoms was attained within 1 week at follow-up. This case emphasizes the importance of differentiating the clinical manifestations of SLE from infection and the complexity of disease presentation in Hispanic patients.

J Clin Med Res. 2018;10(9):722-724


Systemic lupus erythematosus; Epididymitis; Hepatitis; Acute hepatic failure; Corticosteroids; Infection

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