Hepatic functions of 61 children, diagnosed to have dengue infection (DI), aged 2 months to 12 years comprising 37 cases of dengue fever (DF), 16 with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), and eight with dengue shock syndrome (DSS) were prospectively studied during the acute attack. Hepatomegaly (74 per cent), epistaxis (26 per cent), jaundice (25 per cent), and petechial rashes (18 per cent) were the common clinical manifestations of DI. On admission, levels of serum aspartate transaminase (AST), serum alanine transaminase (ALT) and serum alkaline phosphatase (AP) were raised in 80-87 per cent of children with hepatomegaly (group I) and 81 per cent of cases without hepatomegaly (group II). During the second week of hospitalization the proportion of cases with raised levels of AST, ALT, AP and serum bilirubin increased and the mean levels were significantly higher (p<0.05) in both the groups. These levels gradually declined over the next 2-3 weeks. All the cases with DSS and DHF had raised AST, ALT and AP levels and the mean levels of these enzymes were significantly higher (p<0.05) as compared to DF. Our results suggest a transient derangement of liver functions in childhood DI, more so in DSS and DHF, with or without hepatomegaly.

Author notes

Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Department of Paediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital, New Delhi, 110 001, India ZCorresponding author