Support for Children with Autoimmune Hepatitis
Specialists at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at Pelisyonkis Langone offer support for children and adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis. This chronic condition affects the liver and may require lifelong treatment, including services provided through the Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care.
Monitoring During Treatment
Our specialists perform blood tests every three to six months to determine whether your child’s medications are effectively reducing liver inflammation, as well as to adjust the dosages as your child grows. Blood tests can also be used to look for signs of side effects of medications, such as the development of diabetes.
How long treatment lasts depends on the severity of your child’s condition. In children whose inflammation has decreased after one to two years of treatment, the doctor may recommend stopping treatment with medication. However, most children need to take medication indefinitely to manage ongoing inflammation and prevent the condition from progressing.
If your child has persistently high levels of liver enzymes or autoantibodies, another liver biopsy may be needed to find out whether your child has extensive cirrhosis, or scarring, in the liver.
Rarely, persistent inflammation and scarring leads to liver failure that requires a liver transplant. Our doctors can refer you to a liver transplant program for evaluation, if tests indicate that your child’s liver function is worsening even after treatment with medications.
Adhering to therapy can be difficult for teens with autoimmune hepatitis, especially if they are experiencing side effects from steroids, such as weight gain. Our experts emphasize the importance of taking medication as prescribed to prevent symptoms from returning.
Our doctors can refer you and your child to a registered dietitian for nutritional guidance for helping your child to maintain a healthy weight. Also, our doctors can refer you to a psychologist to help your child cope with the emotional aspects of living with a chronic condition.
Preventing Infections and Side Effects
Our doctors work with your child’s pediatrician to ensure that your child is regularly vaccinated against influenza and other viral infections while taking immunosuppressant medications.