The Clinical Course of Subacute Hepatic Necrosis


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The clinical course is reported in 17 patients in whom the histological picture of subacute hepatic necrosis (“bridging hepatitis”) was found on needle liver biopsy or at autopsy. The patients' ages ranged from 10‐71 years, 12 patients being less than 40 years old. Ten patients were males. Jaundice lasted 2‐4 months in nine cases and over six months in two, one of the latter having developed cirrhosis. In five patients a relapse of jaundice occurred within three months. Hepatitis B antigen was found in one of 13 patients tested. Two patients died in fulminant hepatic failure, one developed cirrhosis. These three patients and an additional two received prednisone therapy. Twelve of the remaining patients were followed for periods of 8‐81 months; an additional two patients' follow‐up was incomplete. None developed clinical evidence of chronic liver disease, and laboratory data at the last examination were normal except for slight elevation of alkaline phosphatase in six cases. Repeat biopsies showed persistent hepatitis in one case, slight portal fibrosis in one, cirrhosis in one and at autopsy in a patient who died of unrelated causes two years after hepatitis no evidence of chronic liver disease was found. This relatively good outcome of subacute hepatic necrosis is probably due to the young average age of the patients, and the low incidence of B hepatitis in this series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-606
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1978


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