Clinical features of autoimmune hepatitis and comparison of two diagnostic criteria in Korea: A nationwide, multicenter study



Professor Sook-Hyang Jeong, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, 82, Gumi-Ro 173 Beon-gil, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 463-707, Korea. Email:


Background and Aim

As a rare liver disease, little is known about autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). This study investigated the clinical features and compared two diagnostic criteria of AIH in Korea.


A nationwide, multicenter, retrospective analysis was done of data of adult patients diagnosed with AIH from January 2005 to December 2009.


The enrolled patients (n = 343; mean age, 52.8 years; range, 19–87 years; 12% male, 88% female) met diagnostic criteria of AIH according to the revised original criteria (n = 311) or the simplified criteria (n = 250). At diagnosis, 30.6% were asymptomatic, 22.7% were cirrhotic, and 4.3% displayed hepatic decompensation. The positive results for anti-nuclear antibody, smooth muscle antibody, and anti-liver/kidney microsomal antibody were 94.2%, 23.0%, and 2.9%, respectively. Definite AIH and probable AIH according to the revised original criteria were 24.8% and 65.3%, respectively, while those according to the simplified criteria were 34.4% and 38.5%, respectively. The diagnostic sensitivity and positive predictive value of simplified criteria in comparison with the revised original criteria were 69.9% and 86.4%, respectively. As an initial therapy, corticosteroid (37.7%) or corticosteroid with azathioprine (36.8%) was administered. Remission, incomplete response, and treatment failure were noted with 85.7%, 10.5%, and 3.9% of patients, respectively.


Autoimmune hepatitis in Korea is mostly type I, showing a mean age of 53 years with comparable clinical features to other countries. The concordant rate of the two diagnostic criteria was rather low with modest sensitivity of the simplified criteria. Further studies on the validation of the diagnostic criteria are warranted.