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Autoimmune Hepatitis

Definition of Autoimmune Hepatitis:

Autoimmune Liver Disease is a disorder in which a person's immune system attacks the liver and causes liver damage, which can progress from hepatitis to cirrhosis.

Symptoms:

Could include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing of skin, enlarged liver and may also include abnormal lab findings.

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis can usually be made by blood tests and liver biopsy. Females are more often affected than males
Treatment: Treatment is by immunosuppression, e.g., prednisone (a steroid) and often Imuran (azothioprine). Treatment helps bring about remission, although flare-ups can occur. Autoimmune liver disease is generally treatable, but not curable.

Liver Transplantation:

Patients are examined by a team of specialist to determine if a liver transplant is appropriate and likely to succeed. If so they are placed on a national transplant waiting list. This waiting list is prioritized by the sickest people and those who meet transplant criteria

Summary:

Autoimmune hepatitis is a liver condition that causes liver damage due to the individuals immune system attacking the liver. Symptoms may vary and treatment is aimed at remission.

Organizations

American Gastroenterological Association
www.gastro.com

American College of Gastroenterology
www.acg.gi.org

American Liver Foundation
www.liverfoundation.org 
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