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Alcoholic Hepatitis Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
 
Updated: Dec 27, 2015
 
 

Diagnostic Considerations

Common considerations in alcoholic patients with jaundice include chronic pancreatitis with biliary strictures and pancreaticobiliary neoplasms.

A disorder histologically resembling alcoholic hepatitis can occur in patients who do not use alcohol. This syndrome, termed nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is being recognized with increasing frequency. It occurs most frequently in the setting of obesity, hyperlipidemia, or type 2 diabetes mellitus. NASH is also observed in the setting of chronic parenteral hyperalimentation and in individuals who undergo jejunoileal bypass surgery for treatment of obesity. In most cases, NASH is indolent; however, in some individuals, it may progress insidiously to cirrhosis. NASH is currently believed to be responsible for a large fraction of cases of what was previously termed cryptogenic cirrhosis. In most patients with NASH, the ratio of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is less than 1, unless cirrhosis is present.

Changes in the mental status of patients with alcoholic hepatitis do not always imply the presence of hepatic encephalopathy. Other conditions (eg, subdural hematomas) should be excluded by obtaining a computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain.

Differential Diagnoses

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF Chief of Hepatology, Hunter Holmes McGuire Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association

Disclosure: Received grant/research funds from Novartis for other; Received grant/research funds from Bayer for other; Received grant/research funds from Otsuka for none; Received grant/research funds from Bristol Myers Squibb for other; Received none from Scynexis for none; Received grant/research funds from Salix for other; Received grant/research funds from MannKind for other.

Coauthor(s)

Patrick D Hung, MD Senior Fellow, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Anastasios A Mihas, MD, DMSc, FACP, FACG Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Virginia Commonwealth University Hospitals and Clinics; Chief of GI Clinical Research, Director of GI Outpatient Service, Associate Director of Hepatology, Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Anastasios A Mihas, MD, DMSc, FACP, FACG is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Sigma Xi, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, American Federation for Clinical Research, Gastroenterology Research Group

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

BS Anand, MD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine

BS Anand, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Sandeep Mukherjee, MB, BCh, MPH, FRCPC Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Consulting Staff, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Veteran Affairs Medical Center

Disclosure: Merck Honoraria Speaking and teaching; Ikaria Pharmaceuticals Honoraria Board membership

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

George Y Wu, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Medicine, Director, Hepatology Section, Herman Lopata Chair in Hepatitis Research, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

George Y Wu, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Gastroenterological Association, American Medical Association, American Society for Clinical Investigation, and Association of American Physicians

Disclosure: Springer Consulting fee Consulting; Gilead Consulting fee Review panel membership; Gilead Honoraria Speaking and teaching; Bristol-Myers Squibb Honoraria Speaking and teaching; Springer Royalty Review panel membership

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Liver biopsy sample shows typical findings of perivenular polymorphonuclear infiltrate and ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes (hematoxylin and eosin [H&E] stain). Courtesy of H. Robert Lippman, MD.
Ethanol (ETOH) and cytokine production. CYP = cytochrome P; IL = interleukin; NF-κB = nuclear factor-kappa B; ROS = reactive oxygen species; TNF = tumor necrosis factor.
Mechanisms of cytokine injury. IL = interleukin ; NO = nitric oxide; O2- = superoxide anion; OH- = hydroxyl radical; PMN = polymorphonuclear lymphocyte; TNF = tumor necrosis factor.
 
 
 
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