Review article: The diagnosis and management of alcoholic hepatitis

S. M. Cohen, Joseph Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Alcoholic hepatitis is a severe, cholestatic liver disease occurring in patients with alcohol abuse. Mortality is substantial; however, therapies may improve clinical outcomes. Aim To provide an updated review of the epidemiology, diagnosis, staging and treatment of alcoholic hepatitis. Methods A MEDLINE literature search was performed to identify pertinent articles. Relevant clinical abstracts were also reviewed. Results Severe alcoholic hepatitis occurs in a small fraction of patients who abuse alcohol. The 28-day mortality ranges from 30% to 50% in most series. Diagnosis is generally based on clinical features, with a limited role for liver biopsy. Beneficial treatment options include alcohol abstinence and nutritional therapy. Despite variable results in clinical trials, corticosteroids and pentoxifylline appear to provide moderate survival benefit. Anti-tumour necrosis factor agents and antioxidants have not proven beneficial, and should be limited to clinical trials. Liver transplant is not a frequent option given the active or recent alcohol use. Conclusions Severe alcoholic hepatitis is a clinically-diagnosed condition associated with significant mortality. Alcohol abstinence and nutritional therapy have been associated with improved clinical parameters and should be considered in all patients. Corticosteroid therapy and pentoxifylline therapy appear to show moderate survival benefit and should be considered as first-line therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Alcoholic Hepatitis
Alcohol Abstinence
Pentoxifylline
Therapeutics
Alcoholism
Mortality
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Clinical Trials
Survival
Liver
MEDLINE
Liver Diseases
Epidemiology
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
Antioxidants
Alcohols
Transplants
Biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this

Review article : The diagnosis and management of alcoholic hepatitis. / Cohen, S. M.; Ahn, Joseph.

In: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Vol. 30, No. 1, 07.2009, p. 3-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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