Treatment of Fulminant Autoimmune Hepatitis: Corticosteroid Therapy or Liver Transplantation? A Case Report and Literature Review

Yen-Nien Lin, Jen-Wei Chou, Ken-Sheng Cheng, Cheng-Yuan Peng, Long-Bin Jeng, I-Ping Chiang


Autoimmune hepatitis initially presenting as fulminant hepatic failure is rare in clinical practice. Although corticosteroid is considered as a good therapeutic agent in treating autoimmune hepatitis in the literature, the effect of corticosteroid in treating fulminant autoimmune hepatitis is still controversial. Because corticosteroid therapy for fulminant autoimmune hepatitis can sometimes overlook any future treatment such as delay the timing of liver transplantation and precipitate postoperative complications. We report a case of a 41-year-old female who was admitted to our hosptal because of acute hepatitis with severe jaundice. Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis complicated by fulminant hepatic failure was diagnosed on the basis of her clinical course and laboratory findings. Although we prescribed aggressive medical treatment, plasma transfusion, and plasma exchange therapy, her liver function deteriorated progressively and she developed hepatic coma later. Finally, her fulminant hepatic fuilure gained dramatic improvement after receiving an orthotopic liver transplant from her younger brother. High MELD score and poor treatment response of corticosteroid therapy are indicators of poor prognosis and need of prompt OLT. Moreover, the preoperative interventions should be applied carefully ensuring that they do not delay OLT or precipitate postoperative complications such as infection, bleeding, or poor wound healing.

Gastroenterol Res. 2011;4(5):231-235


Hepatitis; Autoimmune; Steroids; Liver failure; Acute; Liver transplantation; Plasma exchange

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