, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 105-111
Date: 24 Aug 2013

Fulminant hepatitis due to human adenovirus

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To describe the demographics, clinical manifestations, treatment and outcomes of patients with human adenovirus (HAdV) hepatitis.


A case of fulminant HAdV hepatitis in a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia receiving rituximab and fludarabine is described. We conducted a comprehensive review of the English-language literature through May, 2012 in search of definite cases of HAdV hepatitis.


Eighty-nine cases were reviewed. Forty-three (48 %) were liver transplant recipients, 19 (21 %) were bone marrow transplant recipients, 11 (12 %) had received chemotherapy, five (6 %) had severe combined immunodeficiency, four (4 %) were HIV infected, two had heart transplantation, and two were kidney transplant recipients. Ninety percent (46/51) of patients presented within 6 months following transplantation. Fever was the most common initial symptom. Abdominal CT scan revealed hypodense lesions in eight of nine patients. Diagnosis was made by liver biopsy in 43 (48 %), and on autopsy in 46 (52 %). The HAdV was isolated at other sites in 54 cases. Only 24 of 89 patients (27 %) survived: 16 whose immunosuppression was reduced, six with liver re-transplantation, and two who received cidofovir and intravenous immunoglobulin.


HAdV hepatitis can manifest as a fulminant illness in immunocompromised hosts. Definitive diagnosis requires liver biopsy. Early consideration of a viral etiology, reduction in immunosuppression, and liver transplantation can be potentially life-saving.

Presented in part at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), October 2011, Boston, MA.