Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 95-99

Autoimmune hepatitis: Single-center experience of clinical presentation, response to treatment and prognosis in Saudi Arabia

Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Medicine, King Abdul Aziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Hind I Fallatah
P.O. box 9714, Jeddah 21423
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.61235

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Background /Aim : Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a common cause of end-stage liver disease worldwide. It is a disease prevalent in children and adults, with female predominance and variable clinical presentations. AIH has favorable responses to steroids and immunomodulators. Diagnosis of AIH is based on clinical and laboratory criteria, as suggested by the International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group. Data on the disease pattern of AIH from the Middle East countries is scarce. Materials and Methods : In this retrospective analysis, we studied clinical and laboratory features, immunological data, radiological findings, liver biopsy findings and response to therapy in patients with AIH from the hepatology clinics of King Abdul Aziz, University Hospital, Jeddah, from 1994 to 2008. Results : We diagnosed 41 patients with AIH, and 33 were included in the analysis. The mean age was 32.3 years, with female predominance of 75.7%. De- compensated cirrhosis at presentation was found in 45.5% of the patients. Acute hepatitis was associated with significantly higher levels of the serum ALT and bilirubin (P=0.001 and P=0.03, respectively). All our patients had type 1 AIH. Treatment with prednisolone and azathioprine resulted in complete or partial remission in majority of the patients (54.8%). However, patients with advanced disease showed a poorer response to treatment (P=0.016). Six patients with poor compliance had relapse of AIH. Two patients had a flare of the disease during pregnancy, and they responded well with prednisolone. The longest follow-up was 14 years and the shortest was 2 months. Four patients died from liver disease. Conclusion : AIH patients in Saudi Arabia are likely to present with advanced disease at a young age and would have a poorer response to therapy as compared with patients in other countries worldwide.

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