Seamless Management of Juvenile Autoimmune Liver Disease: Long-Term Medical and Social Outcome

Angelo Di Giorgio*, Nedim Hadzic, Anil Dhawan, Maesha Deheragoda, Michael A. Heneghan, Diego Vergani, Giorgina Mieli-Vergani, Marianne Samyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To report baseline features and long-term medical/social outcomes of juvenile autoimmune liver disease, including autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis (ASC), managed in a single tertiary center. Study design: Retrospective study of children diagnosed in 2000-2004 with AIH/ASC followed up to date. Patients with abnormal cholangiogram were classified as ASC. Presentation and outcome features were compared. Results: Eighty-three children were included (42 female, median age 12.1 years [8.5-14.1 years], AIH = 54, ASC = 29). Most (65%) had antinuclear and/or anti-smooth muscle autoantibodies; 6% presented with acute liver failure; 29% had histologic evidence of cirrhosis. The 1999 and simplified International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group criteria failed to diagnose up to 26% of patients with AIH and 48% with ASC, and the proposed the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition criteria were accurate. Response to treatment was excellent with 95% achieving normal transaminase levels. During follow-up, 31% had at least 1 relapse episode; 3 patients with AIH developed cholangiopathy and 5 patients with ASC developed progressive bile duct injury. At last follow-up (median of 14.5 years, 10.4-16.8), 99% were alive, 11 underwent transplantation and 1 is listed for transplant. Five-, 10-, and 15-year transplant-free survival rates were 95%, 88%, and 83%; patients with ASC and those relapsing being more likely to require transplant. Social outcome was excellent with 93% in employment/education. Conclusions: Seamless management of juvenile autoimmune liver disease leads to excellent clinical and social outcomes. Despite good response to immunosuppressive treatment, patients with ASC have a worse prognosis than those with AIH. Diagnostic models developed for adults are unsatisfactory to correctly diagnose juvenile autoimmune liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129.e3
JournalJournal of pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • autoimmune hepatitis
  • autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis
  • cholangiopathy
  • juvenile
  • relapse


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