Cryptogenic Cirrhosis, An Ambiguity of a Diagnosis: A Case Report of Progressive Cirrhosis of Undetermined Cause

  • Alvin Oliver Payus Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Jalan UMS, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  • justin Leow Wen Hsiang General Medicine Department, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 13a Jalan Penampang, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  • Hui Yun Ong General medicine department, Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital, 225, Bandar Amanjaya, 08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia
  • Neeraj Vinayakumar Department of medicine, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Charitable Hospital Thiruvananthapuram, 695011, Kerala, India
Keywords: chronic liver disease, cryptogenic cirrhosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis


Cirrhosis is the result of chronic liver disease due to a variety of causes. It is deemed to be cryptogenic when the leading cause cannot be identified despite extensive laboratory, radiological and pathological investigations. The prevalence of cryptogenic cirrhosis diagnosis has been dramatically reduced in recent years due to the advanced achievement in diagnostic medicine, whereby it is attributed to only about less than 5% of cirrhosis cases. Here, we present a case of a 16-year-old boy with nonsignificant family history, was not taking any regular medication, and presented with progressive intermittent jaundice for a few years due to liver cirrhosis. Although an extensive investigation has been done, the etiology of the cirrhotic liver was still unknown. He had no features to support nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. He was in Child’s Grade B and prophylactically treated with a regular dose of propranolol to prevent portal hypertension complication while waiting for a liver transplant. This case report served the objective of showing that despite the advances in medical diagnostic techniques, cryptogenic cirrhosis is still used as a diagnosis in cases of chronic liver disease of unknown etiology.