[Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis]

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2009;153:A247.
[Article in Dutch]


Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a progressive, chronic form of hepatitis of unknown cause that occurs in people of all ages. The diagnosis is based on characteristic clinical and biochemical abnormalities, absence of other causes of hepatitis and histopathological characteristics. The variety of symptoms that AIH patients may have and the importance of considering the disease is illustrated in three case studies. The first was a 22-year-old woman with fulminant hepatitis and jaundice. Corticosteroid and azathioprine treatment resulted in prolonged remission. The second patient, a 48-year-old woman, had hepatocellular carcinoma in a cirrhotic liver, based on AIH. Radiofrequency ablation was planned, after which the patient would be put on the waiting list for transplantation. The third patient was an 81-year-old man with impaired liver function and cirrhosis. His treatment was the same as in the first patient and resulted in remission as well. No curative therapy for AIH is yet available, but appropriate management of the disease can prolong survival, improve the quality of life, and avoid the need for liver transplantation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Azathioprine