Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH)

Autoimmune hepatitis is a life-long and rare liver disease. It is when your body’s immune system causes damage to its own healthy liver cells. This leads to inflammation in the liver.

Treatment involves very effective medicines that suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. It also reduces the likelihood of your condition getting worse.

If left untreated it can lead to serious scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). This can then lead to liver cancer or liver failure.

It is not entirely clear what causes autoimmune hepatitis, and it is not known whether anything can be done to prevent it.

Early symptoms can include an overwhelming sense of tiredness (fatigue), feeling generally unwell, itching, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

There are often no signs that you have autoimmune hepatitis and symptoms can be vague. Blood tests and a liver biopsy are used to help confirm that you have it. Once you are diagnosed, we can help treat it.

Dr Vikki Gordon, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist,
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust