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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


FERREIRA, Alexandre R.; ROQUETE, Mariza L.V.; PENNA, Francisco J.  and  TOPPA, Nivaldo H.. Autoimmune hepatitis in children and adolescents: clinical study, diagnosis and therapeutic response. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.4, pp.309-314. ISSN 0021-7557.

Objective: the aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical, laboratory and histopathological characteristics and the response to immunosuppression in children and adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). Methods: the present research is a descriptive study consisting of 39 children and adolescents with AIH who receive care at the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology of Hospital das Clínicas (UFMG) from 1986 to 1998. Results: children's age ranged from 1.6 to 17 years (mean 8.7 ± 3.49), most of them were females (87.2%). There were three types of clinical presentations: chronic (53.9%), acute (41%), and serious hepatic failure (5.1%). The most relevant laboratory parameters were the aminotransferases and g-globulin increase. Antinuclear antibodies were positive in 66.7% of the patients, while smooth muscle antibodies were positive in 52.8% and anti-LKM1 in 3% of the patients. In the histopathology the most important findings were the piecemeal necrosis (93.7%), moderate to severe portal inflammation (78.1%), definitive or incomplete cirrhosis (76.9%), absence of lesion of biliary ducts (93.7%) and presence of rosettes (90.6%). During the treatment, 77.8% obtained complete resolution, associated to side effects in 27.8% of them. Seven patients died (17.9%). During the treatment there was significant z score reduction (p< 0.05) for height/age. Conclusions: after carrying out this study, we observed that the typical characteristics of AIH were: female sex, several clinical presentations, increased aminotransferase, and hypergammaglobulinemia. Histopathology showed a predominance of incipient and/or definitive cirrhosis associated with moderate to severe portal inflammation and piecemeal necrosis. Treatment using corticosteroids and azathioprine, turned out to be effective. However, the reduction in the height/age z score probably represents an adverse effect of corticoid treatment.

Keywords : autoimmune hepatitis; children; treatment; clinical; histopathology.

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