Autoimmune hepatitis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Case reports of a rare, but important diagnosis with therapeutic implications

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Abstract

Rationale:

Chronic liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with HIV. However, autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) in patients with HIV has rarely been reported. Our aim was to evaluate a cohort of patients with HIV and AIH and identify clinical presentations and outcomes.

Patient Concerns:

Management of autoimmune hepatitis in context of human immunodeficiency virus, long-term outcomes, and safety in setting of underlying immunocompromised state.

Diagnoses:

Autoimmune Hepatitis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatotoxicity, Liver Injury, Liver Transplantation.

Interventions:

We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients with HIV and AIH based on histological, serologic, biochemical demographic, and clinical data.

Outcomes:

Five patients were identified with autoimmune hepatitis; 4 of 5 were women, and all were African or African-American. The age at the time of AIH diagnosis was 46.6 ± 13.4 years. All patients acquired HIV sexually and all had CD4 counts >250 cells/uL (456–1011 cells/uL) and undetectable HIV viral loads at the time of AIH diagnosis. One patient presented with acute liver failure necessitating liver transplantation and developed AIH posttransplantation. At the time of diagnosis, the AST were 350 ± 448 U/L, ALT 247 ± 190 U/L, bilirubin 7 ± 12 mg/dL, and alkaline phosphatase 126 ± 53 U/L. All patients had histologic evidence of AIH on liver biopsies. Patients were successfully treated with prednisone and azathioprine, without a decrease in CD4 <250 cells/uL, infectious complications or significant side effects.

Lessons:

AIH occurs in patients with well-controlled HIV. In our patient cohort, immunosuppressive therapy with prednisone and azathioprine was safe and effective in inducing remission, without significant complications or development of opportunistic infections.

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