Which organs are affected by hydatid cysts?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: Imad S Dandan, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Many hydatid cysts remain asymptomatic, even into advanced age. The parasite load, the site, and the size of the cysts determine the degree of symptoms. A history of living in or visiting an endemic area must be established. Also, exposure to the parasite through the ingestion of foods or water contaminated by the feces of a definitive host must be determined.

Theoretically, echinococcosis can involve any organ. The liver is the most common organ involved, followed by the lungs. These 2 organs account for 90% of cases of echinococcosis.

In cystic echinococcosis (CE), symptoms can be produced by a mass effect or cyst complications. Symptoms due to the pressure effect of the cyst usually take a long time to manifest, except when they occur in the brain or the eyes. Most symptomatic cysts are larger than 5 cm in diameter. Organs affected by E granulosus are the liver (63%), lungs (25%), muscles (5%), bones (3%), kidneys (2%), brain (1%), and spleen (1%).

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