Sixty-nine patients with chronic active hepatitis without cirrhosis were studied to define the prognostic implications of bridging necrosis of various types. There were 19 patients without bridging necrosis compared with 50 patients with bridging necrosis. The two groups did not differ significantly at presentation in age, sex, clinical or laboratory features. In the group without bridging necrosis, no patient died from the disease and none of 13 having a later biopsy developed cirrhosis. In the group with bridging necrosis, one patient died from hepatic failure and 7 of 36 developed cirrhosis (19%). When analyzed statistically, a significant (p<0.05) relationship is seen between increasing severity of initial lesion and the subsequent development of cirrhosis. It is concluded that patients with piecemeal necrosis without bridging should not be grouped together with patients with bridging necrosis or cirrhosis when considering management decisions.