Autoimmune Hepatitis | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is autoimmune hepatitis diagnosed?

If your child’s doctor suspects autoimmune hepatitis, they will order a number of tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Tests may include:

  • blood tests to determine if the symptoms are caused by autoimmune hepatitis or another liver condition
  • liver biopsy to look for signs of damage in a small sample of liver tissue
  • imaging tests of your child’s abdomen and liver, such as ultrasound, Fibroscan or magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI)

How is autoimmune hepatitis treated?

Like most other autoimmune diseases, autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic condition. However, the condition can be managed and responds well to treatment. Early treatment can reverse liver damage caused by autoimmune hepatitis.

Treatment is aimed at suppressing the exaggerated immune response to prevent continued liver damage. This most frequently involves the use of steroids followed by steroid-sparing medications.

Your child may go into remission after a period of treatment. This is when there are no symptoms or liver damage. If this happens, your child’s doctor may decide to stop the medication but will continue to test your child’s blood to watch for signs of relapse.

Autoimmune hepatitis is a lifelong condition. It is important for your child to see their doctor on a regular schedule to keep the condition under control.