JOURNAL ARTICLE

Treatment of decompensated alcoholic liver disease

John Menachery, Ajay Duseja
International Journal of Hepatology 2011, 2011: 219238
21994849
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a spectrum ranging from simple hepatic steatosis to alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis can have clinical presentation almost similar to those with decompensated cirrhosis. Scoring with models like Maddrey discriminant function, a model for end-stage liver disease, Glasgow alcoholic hepatitis score, and Lille model are helpful in prognosticating patients with ALD. One of the first therapeutic goals in ALD is to induce alcohol withdrawal with psychotherapy or drugs. Most studies have shown that nutritional therapy improves liver function and histology in patients with ALD. The rationale for using glucocorticoids is to block cytotoxic and inflammatory pathways in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis. Pentoxifylline, a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) suppressor, and infliximab, an anti-TNFα mouse/human chimeric antibody, has been extensively studied in patients with alcoholic hepatitis. Liver transplantation remains the definitive therapy for decompensated cirrhosis/alcoholic hepatitis despite the issues of recidivism, poor compliance with postoperative care, and being a self-inflicted disease.

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