Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a progressive inflammatory liver disease of unknown aetiology. The number of reported AIH cases is increasing in the developed countries but the same cannot be said about sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Paediatric AIH diagnosis is usually missed and patients present with decompensated liver disease. Our study highlights the clinical profile of paediatric AIH cases at a referral hospital in Ghana.
This is a retrospective review of all cases of children diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis at the gastroenterology clinic in Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana. Data was extracted from the patients’ records from April 2016 to October 2019. These children were diagnosed based on the presence of autoantibodies, elevated immunoglobulin G and histologic presence of interphase hepatitis with the exclusion of hepatitis A, B, C and E depending on their clinical presentation, Wilson’s disease, HIV, Schistosomiasis and sickle cell disease.
Thirteen patients aged between 5 years to 13 years with a mean age of 10 years were diagnosed with AIH. All the patients had type 1 AIH with majority 8 (61.5%) being females. Most of the children presented with advanced liver disease with complications. Three patients had other associated autoimmune diseases. The patients were treated with prednisolone with or without azathioprine depending on the severity of the liver disease.
Majority of paediatric AIH presents with advanced liver disease. There is the need for early detection to change the natural history of AIH in SSA.