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Zieve's syndrome is an acute metabolic condition that can occur during withdrawal from prolonged alcohol abuse. It is defined by hemolytic anemia (with spur cells and acanthocytes), hyperlipoproteinaemia (excessive blood lipoprotein), jaundice (elevation of unconjugated bilirubin), and abdominal pain. The underlying cause is liver delipidization. This is distinct from alcoholic hepatitis which, however, may present simultaneously or develop later.
Diagnosis of Zieve's syndrome should be considered in alcoholic (especially after an episode of binge drinking) with an elevation of unconjugated bilirubin and without obvious signs of gastrointestinal bleeding.
The proposed mechanism of the characteristic haemolytic anaemia in Zieve's syndrome is due to alteration of the red cell metabolism, namely pyruvate kinase instability leaving them susceptible to circulating hemolysin such as lysolecithin. Changes in membrane lipid compositions such as increased cholesterol and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) have been report during the hemolytic phase.
Definitive treatment for Zieve's syndrome is alcohol cessation.
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