2007 Volume 46 Issue 24 Pages 1945-1950
Objective In Caucasian type 1 autoimmune hepatitis patients with a main susceptibility of human leukocyte antigen DR3 and DR4, elderly patients have a higher frequency of concurrent autoimmune disease and cirrhosis at presentation. However, in Japanese patients, the disease is dominantly associated with DR4, and their clinical features may be different from those of previous reports. In this study, we assessed the clinical features of Japanese elderly patients with type 1 autoimmune hepatitis.
Methods We investigated 160 consecutive patients with type 1 autoimmune hepatitis, consisting of 34 elderly patients (≥65 years) and 126 younger patients (<65 years).
Results There were no differences in form of clinical onset, frequencies of concurrent autoimmune disease, positive proportions of anti-nuclear antibody and/or anti-smooth muscle antibody, and human leukocyte antigen DR status between the two groups. However, the elderly patients had lower serum levels of albumin (p=0.0049), and higher frequencies of cirrhosis (F4) and pre-cirrhosis (F3) (p=0.014) compared with the younger patients. In contrast, in elderly patients, the cumulative incidental rate of the normalization of serum alanine aminotransferase levels within 6 months after the introduction of initial treatment was higher in those treated with prednisolone ≥20 mg/day than those treated only with ursodeoxycholic acid (p=0.001).
Conclusion We speculate that more years may pass between the occurrence of the disease and the presentation in Japanese elderly patients than in younger patients, and we considered that, even in elderly patients, those with advanced fibrosis should be treated with prednisolone in order to prevent progress of the disease into liver failure.