A previous publication analyzed the clinicopathological characteristics of 105 patients with steatohepatitis: 32 nonalcoholic, 21 ambulatory alcoholics, and 52 hospitalized alcoholics; we now report an up to 12-year follow-up (mean 5.9 +/- 4.7). Between 1988 and 1993, all patients with a histological diagnosis of steatohepatitis were included; necrosis, inflammation, Mallory bodies, and fibrosis were graded. Complete follow-up data were obtained in 78%. Survival curves were similar between nonalcoholic and ambulatory alcoholics; they were, however, better in nonalcoholic than hospitalized alcoholics (P < 0.0001), and in ambulatory relative to hospitalized (P = 0.0001) alcoholics. Nonalcoholics had a better prognosis than the combined alcoholic groups (P = 0.001). Patients with moderate to severe Mallory bodies and severe fibrosis had a significantly worse survival (P < 0.01), whereas severity of hepatocellular damage and neutrophil or mononuclear infiltration had no significant impact. In conclusion, alcoholic patients as a whole had a worse prognosis, yet the ambulatory subgroup had a prognosis similar to nonalcoholic patients.