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Minerva Medica 2018 August;109(4):290-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.17.05431-3


language: English

Acute alcoholic hepatitis: a literature review and proposal of treatment

Gianni TESTINO , Silvia LEONE

Alcohological Regional Center, ASL 3 Genoa, San Martino Polyclinic, Genoa, Italy


Severe acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) can lead to a clinical picture with a six-month mortality rate in more than 70% of cases. This clinical picture is characterized by: jaundice with a duration of less than three months, jaundice at the first failure event, serum bilirubin greater than 5 mg/dL, ratio AST/ALT>2/1, AST less than 500 IU/L, ALT<300 IU/L, neutrophil leukocytosis and a GGT increase. In addition, encephalopathy, fever, asthenia and coagulopathy may be present. Its onset may also be characterized by portal-hypertension-related complications, particularly bleeding and hepato-renal syndrome. In cases where there is an overlapping of an acute form characterized by an etiological factor other than that of the base hepatopathy, acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF) is obtained. This can result in systemic inflammation response syndrome (SIRS) with a multi-organ systemic involvement. Several indices are used to evaluate the prognosis, in particular Maddrey’s discriminant function (mDF) and the model of end stage liver disease (MELD). In our clinical practice, we use the MELD routinely. In cases of ACLF, a consortium organ failure score (CLIF-COFs) is used. Therapy is characterized by abstention in cases of severe forms (mDF>32 and MELD>21); in the absence of contraindications, steroid therapy is possible. In cases of an unresponsive liver, transplantation is premature. In our view, this possibility, after proper selection, must be offered for both prognostic and ethical reasons.

KEY WORDS: Alcohol-induced disorders - Acute-on-chronic liver failure - Alcoholic hepatitis - Liver transplantation

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