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Hepatology. 1997 Mar;25(3):541-7.

Autoimmune hepatitis in childhood: a 20-year experience.

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Department of Child Health, King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, England.


To determine the clinical, biochemical, and histological features, and outcome of childhood autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), we reviewed the medical records of 52 children with AIH, 32 (median age: 10 [2-15] years) anti-nuclear and/or smooth muscle antibody (ANA/SMA) positive, 20 (7 [0.8-14] years) liver/kidney microsomal antibody (LKM-1) positive, with median follow-up of 5 years (range 0.3-19). At presentation: 56% had symptoms of prolonged acute hepatitis; LKM-1 positive were younger (P = .011), with higher bilirubin (P = .007), and AST (P = .047); ANA/SMA positive had lower albumin (P = .023); 69% ANA/SMA positive, and 38% LKM-1 positive were cirrhotic (P = .080). ANA/SMA positive had increased frequency of HLA haplotype A1/B8/DR3/DR52a compared with controls (53% vs. 14%, P < .001). Of six (5 LKM-1 positive) with fulminant hepatitis, four were transplanted, one died, and one ANA/SMA positive improved with immunosuppression. Of 47 treated with immunosuppression, 2 (1 LKM-1 positive) died with no remission and 4 (2 LKM-1 positive) were transplanted 8 to 14 years after diagnosis. Immunosuppression was stopped successfully in 19% of ANA/SMA positive after a median of 3 years of treatment, but in none of LKM-1 positive. Baseline bilirubin and international normalized prothrombin ratio (INR) were independent variables predictive of outcome. In conclusion, ANA/SMA positive and LKM-1 positive AIH in childhood have clinical, biochemical, and histological differences, but similar severity and long-term outcome.

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