Prognosis of alcoholic cirrhosis in the presence and absence of alcoholic hepatitis

Gastroenterology. 1987 Jan;92(1):208-14. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(87)90861-4.


Liver biopsy specimens (178 percutaneous and 39 transjugular) were assessed from 217 consecutive patients with alcoholic liver disease, 77 noncirrhotics and 140 cirrhotics, whose cases were followed for 5 yr. Cirrhotic patients were categorized into two groups, with and without "hepatitis" using a criteria to define "hepatitis" that included only degrees of inflammation, necrosis, and Mallory bodies that had a prognostic weight in terms of mortality in 1 yr. This classification resulted in a sharp separation between a group of 42 patients with cirrhosis without "hepatitis" and with low mortality, both at 1 yr (7.1% +/- 4.0%) and at 5 yr (31% +/- 7%), and another group of 98 patients with cirrhosis and "hepatitis" and a high mortality both at 1 yr (26.5% +/- 4.5%, p less than 0.01), and at 5 yr (47% +/- 5%, p less than 0.02). Importantly, the 1-yr mortality in patients with cirrhosis and no "hepatitis" was not statistically different from that of patients with no cirrhosis or "hepatitis" (most of whom had only fatty liver) both at 1 yr (6.9% +/- 3.3%) and at 5 yr (24% +/- 6%). There were marked differences in several variables between cirrhosis with and without "hepatitis" [combined clinical and laboratory index: no "hepatitis": 4.9 +/- 0.7, with "hepatitis": 7.8 +/- 0.5, p less than 0.01; score of collagen in space of Disse: no "hepatitis": 2.1 +/- 0.4, with "hepatitis": 3.7 +/- 0.3, p less than 0.01; hepatocyte cross-sectional surface area: no "hepatitis": 682 +/- 51 micron 2, with "hepatitis": 841 +/- 31 micron 2, p less than 0.01]. These findings were more severe in the transjugular group than in the percutaneous group. Collagen in the space of Disse and hepatocyte surface area were not statistically different when cirrhosis without "hepatitis" was compared with a similar no "hepatitis" group of patients having noncirrhotic alcoholic liver disease. In this patient sample the presence of parenchymal nodules and fibrous septa, per se, did not result in an increase in mortality with respect to alcoholic patients without cirrhosis and with no "hepatitis."

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / mortality*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies