Wilson's disease is an autosomal-recessive disorder caused by mutation in the ATP7B gene, with resultant impairment of biliary excretion of copper. Subsequent copper accumulation, first in the liver but ultimately in the brain and other tissues, produces protean clinical manifestations that may include hepatic, neurological, psychiatric, ophthalmological, and other derangements. Genetic testing is impractical because of the multitude of mutations that have been identified, so accurate diagnosis relies on judicious use of a battery of laboratory and other diagnostic tests. Lifelong palliative treatment with a growing stable of medications, or with liver transplantation if needed, can successfully ameliorate or prevent the progressive deterioration and eventual death that would otherwise inevitably ensue. This article discusses the epidemiology, genetics, pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnostic testing, and treatment of Wilson's disease. Copyright 2007 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
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