Alcoholic hepatitis should be suspected in every patient with excessive chronic alcohol consumption and recent onset of jaundice. Diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis is based on clinical and laboratory findings, and confirmed by a liver biopsy when available. Several scores are available to assess severity and prognosis of alcoholic hepatitis. The 1-month mortality of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, as defined by Maddrey's discriminant function, is 20-30%. Therefore, severe alcoholic hepatitis should be treated with a 28-day course of oral prednisolone after systematic screening for infection. In this review, we discuss diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis, the different scores to assess severity of the disease, indications for corticosteroid therapy and alternative therapeutic options for non-responders to medical therapy.
Keywords: Alcoholic hepatitis; Lille score; disease severity; liver transplantation; prednisolone.