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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Jun 21;19(23):3629-33. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i23.3629.

Role of international criteria in the diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis.

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  • 1Young Researchers and Elite Club, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran.



To study the clinical and laboratory characteristics of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), and compare them with International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group (IAHG) criteria.


Sixty consecutive patients with AIH attended the University Clinic at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Iran for a 12 mo period and were assessed in a case series study. Serological and biochemical evaluations were carried out in all patients. Autoantibodies, such as antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti-smooth muscle antibody (ASMA), anti-liver-kidney microsomal antibody (ALKM-1) type 1, and perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (P-ANCA) were evaluated in these patients. A liver biopsy was performed after diagnosis of the disease. Patients were evaluated in terms of their signs and symptoms, and laboratory results and the degree to which they corresponded with the diagnostic criteria of IAHG. In this study, both a comprehensive diagnostic scoring system and a simplified diagnostic scoring system were employed for AIH.


Sixty patients, 20 male, 40 female, mean age 39.45 ± 17.50 years, participated in the study. Treatment began immediately after enrolment into the study. The percent distribution of the study population into definite and probable did not change after the treatment. The most common symptoms in descending order were fatigue (100%), icter (66.7%), abdominal discomfort (33.3%), abdominal distension (28.3%), dark urine (23.3%), edema (23.3%), hematemesis (20.0%), pruritus (20.0%), melena (11.7%) and pale stool (10.0%). At the physical examination, splenomegaly, ascites, hepatomegaly, epigastric tenderness and an abdominal mass were found in 50.0%, 16.7%, 13.3%, 5.0% and 3.3% of patients, respectively. Hypergammaglobulinemia was detected in 95.0% of cases. ALKM-1, P-ANCA, ANA and ASMA were positive in 71.4%, 66.7%, 42.4% and 19.4% of cases, respectively. Portal hypertensive gastropathy (45.0%), esophageal varices (41.7%) and cirrhosis (40.0%) were the most prevalent complications of AIH, and there was no evidence of primary sclerosing cholangitis, ulcerative colitis and overlap syndrome in these patients. According to IAHG criteria, 80.0% of cases had a definite diagnosis, 15.0% had a probable diagnosis and 5.0% had no AIH. The percent distribution of the study population into definite, probable and no AIH did not change after using the simplified diagnostic scoring system for AIH.


This research showed that the majority of cases in our study were appropriately diagnosed according to the IAHG criteria and simplified scoring system. Thus, these criteria are very useful.


Autoimmune hepatitis; Clinical; Diagnosis; International criteria; Paraclinical

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