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Cholestatic jaundice due to ackee fruit poisoning

J Larson, R Vender, P Camuto
American Journal of Gastroenterology 1994, 89 (9): 1577-8
A 27-yr-old Jamaican male presented with a 2-month history of jaundice, pruritus, intermittent diarrhea, and right upper quadrant abdominal pain. Over the next month, his abdominal pain and diarrhea improved, but his jaundice and pruritus worsened. He was afebrile and profoundly jaundice, with a benign abdominal examination. Medical workup included a normal abdominal ultrasound, iron studies, ceruloplasm, and serum electrophoresis. Negative viral (Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, mononucleosis, hepatitis A, B, C) studies, ANA, AMA, ASMA, RPR were noted. He denied any alcohol, drug, or toxin exposure. Liver tests revealed total bilirubin of 25.6 mg/dl, direct bilirubin of 13.9 mg/dl, alkaline phosphatase 278 IU/L, AST 45 IU/L, and ALT 71 IU/L. Liver biopsy demonstrated centrilobular zonal necrosis and cholestasis most consistent with a toxic reaction. The patient was again interviewed regarding potential toxins, and he admitted to the ingestion of ackee fruit, a native Jamaican fruit that is illegal in the United States. Shortly after he had ceased intake of the fruit, his symptoms resolved and his liver function tests returned to normal. We present a case of chronic ackee fruit ingestion that led to cholestatic jaundice, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

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