Outcome of COVID-19 in Patients With Autoimmune Hepatitis: An International Multicenter Study

Hepatology. 2021 Jun;73(6):2099-2109. doi: 10.1002/hep.31797.


Background and aims: Data regarding outcome of COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) are lacking.

Approach and results: We performed a retrospective study on patients with AIH and COVID-19 from 34 centers in Europe and the Americas. We analyzed factors associated with severe COVID-19 outcomes, defined as the need for mechanical ventilation, intensive care admission, and/or death. The outcomes of patients with AIH were compared to a propensity score-matched cohort of patients without AIH but with chronic liver diseases (CLD) and COVID-19. The frequency and clinical significance of new-onset liver injury (alanine aminotransferase > 2 × the upper limit of normal) during COVID-19 was also evaluated. We included 110 patients with AIH (80% female) with a median age of 49 (range, 18-85) years at COVID-19 diagnosis. New-onset liver injury was observed in 37.1% (33/89) of the patients. Use of antivirals was associated with liver injury (P = 0.041; OR, 3.36; 95% CI, 1.05-10.78), while continued immunosuppression during COVID-19 was associated with a lower rate of liver injury (P = 0.009; OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.09-0.71). The rates of severe COVID-19 (15.5% versus 20.2%, P = 0.231) and all-cause mortality (10% versus 11.5%, P = 0.852) were not different between AIH and non-AIH CLD. Cirrhosis was an independent predictor of severe COVID-19 in patients with AIH (P < 0.001; OR, 17.46; 95% CI, 4.22-72.13). Continuation of immunosuppression or presence of liver injury during COVID-19 was not associated with severe COVID-19.

Conclusions: This international, multicenter study reveals that patients with AIH were not at risk for worse outcomes with COVID-19 than other causes of CLD. Cirrhosis was the strongest predictor for severe COVID-19 in patients with AIH. Maintenance of immunosuppression during COVID-19 was not associated with increased risk for severe COVID-19 but did lower the risk for new-onset liver injury during COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Americas
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune* / complications
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult