• alcoholic hepatitis;
  • diagnostic value;
  • liver biopsy;
  • terminal hepatic venule

ABSTRACT— The frequency of fibrosis of the terminal hepatic venule (FTHV) has been investigated by two observers unaware of the patient's history, in needle biopsy specimens showing normal histology (n = 23), alcoholic steatosis (n = 23), steatosis in diabetes or overweight (n = 26), alcoholic hepatitis (n = 21), or virus-related chronic active hepatitis (n = 44). FTHV was coded following a scale from 0 to 3 of severity. Minimal (grade 1) FTHV was seen in most venules of biopsies with a normal histological pattern, and was considered a normal feature. Grade 2 of FTHV was absent in the group showing normal histology but was evident in 17.4% – 39.7% of the venules observed in the other groups without attaining diagnostic relevance. The percentage rate of severe (grade 3) FTHV was 0.0, 4.9, 6.6, 18.7 and 2.9 in the respective groups as delineated above. In alcoholic hepatitis, severe FTHV therefore showed a higher frequency than in virus-related chronic hepatitis (p<0.001), with high values of sensitivity (0.75), specificity (0.93), and predictivity (0.84 positive, 0.98 negative) for ethanol aetiology. The ethanol-related diagnostic value of FTHV however, was low in steatosis.