SFGH 9.9 Report Pearls: Alcoholic Hepatitis

  • Most patients who develop alcoholic hepatitis have a history of heavy alcohol use for at least a decade, but it can occur with intermittent heavy drinking and over much shorter periods in some patients
  • Alc hep labs will be most notable for an elevated INR and T bili with only a moderate elevation in transaminases. Many will also have a leukocytosis
  • Severity is calculated using the Maddreys’ discriminant function. Easiest to plug the T Bili and PT into MedCalc, but here is the formula for your reference:
    • DF = 4.6 x (patient prothrombin time – control) + T bili
  • Treatment with steroids has been shown to improve mortality for those with severe alc hep, though steroids may be contraindicated if there is concern for GI bleeding, infection, or renal failure.
    • Recommended steroid treatment is with prednisolone, since the liver usually metabolizes prednisone to the active prednisolone!
  • For severe alc hep with contraindications to steroids, pentoxifylline is an alternative, though data is weaker than for steroids and it has not been definitely shown to improve mortality (STOPAH trial from NEJM below)
    • Supportive care with nutrition, PPI and abstinence from alcohol are also important!
  • If there is no improvement in the DF after 1 week of therapy, ongoing treatment is not recommended and thought to have little benefit.
  • For patients with severe alc hep (DF ≥32) who do not receive treatment, mortality at 1 month is over 25%, primarily due to sepsis, GI bleeding and liver failure.

Evernote link here: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s300/sh/c27db0a5-3245-496c-8f84-f23101a3b192/2bc1cf18c5e411b12a1dddd28ec5c60a

Lischner MW, Alexander JF, Galambos JT. Natural history of alcoholic hepatitis. I. The acute disease. Am J Dig Dis 1971; 16:481.

Yu CH, Xu CF, Ye H, et al. Early mortality of alcoholic hepatitis: a review of data from placebo-controlled clinical trials. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16:2435.

Thursz MR, Richardson P, Allison M, et al. Prednisolone or pentoxifylline for alcoholic hepatitis. N Engl J Med 2015; 372:1619.


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