Autoimmune hepatitis in older patients.
AIM:autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is thought to present rarely in old people. The aims of the present study were to (i) review individuals diagnosed clinically as having AIH presenting over or under 65 years of age at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, from 1979 to 1993 and (ii) compare diagnostic and histological scores, treatment and outcome, and hence provide a useful profile of the disease in older patients. METHODS:310 individuals with a histological diagnosis of chronic hepatitis were identified, and review of the medical notes of 286 revealed 54 with a diagnosis of AIH. Of these, 12 (22%) were > or =65 years of age at presentation. RESULTS:at presentation, the mean diagnostic score (according to the diagnostic scoring system devised by an international panel; maximum score, 17) of the whole group was 11.5 (SD 3.5) and the mean score for those > or =65 years was 9 (SD 3). The mean histological grade (intensity of necro-inflammatory activity; maximum, 18) for the elderly group was 6 (SD 2) compared with 4.5 (SD 0.5) for the whole group. Despite this, 42% of the elderly sufferers had received no immunosuppressive therapy (versus 12% of the younger group). At follow-up, 26% in both groups had developed cirrhosis. None of the elderly group (but 7% of the younger group) had died from complications of chronic liver disease. CONCLUSION:we present data on 12 patients presenting at 65 years and over with AIH. In elderly individuals diagnosis may be more difficult, and treatment appears often to have been withheld. Despite this, and the more severe initial histological grade, the prognosis appeared no worse than in younger, usually correctly treated, patients.
Newton, JL; Burt, AD; Park, JB; Mathew, J; Bassendine, MF; James, OF
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