Liver Transplant Transplant Services

Autoimmune Hepatitis

What is autoimmune hepatitis?

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, resulting in liver cell damage and destruction. Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic inflammatory liver disease with, usually, no known cause. The disease is more common in females and has been associated with a disorder called hypergammaglobulinemia.

Hypergammaglobinemia is a disorder where there are too many circulating protein antibodies in the blood. A chronic infection or certain malignant blood diseases may cause hypergammaglobinemia. Autoimmune hepatitis may resolve without treatment in some individuals, but, for the majority of individuals, it is chronic and can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis?

The following are the most common symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is autoimmune hepatitis diagnosed?

In addition to complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for autoimmune hepatitis may include the following:

Treatment for autoimmune hepatitis

Specific treatment for autoimmune hepatitis will be determined by your physician based on:

The goal of treatment for autoimmune hepatitis is to drive the disease into remission (complete or partial absence of symptoms). This is done by taking corticosteroids and immunosuppressive medications. Remission may take six months to a year or longer to occur. If an individual develops liver failure, a liver transplant may be considered.

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