Epidemiology and the initial presentation of autoimmune hepatitis in Sweden: A nationwide study

Mårten Werner*, Hanne Prytz, Bodil Ohlsson, Sven Almer, Einar Björnsson, Annika Bergquist, Sven Wallerstedt, Hanna Sandberg-Gertzén, Rolf Hultcrantz, Per Sangfelt, Ola Weiland, Åke Danielsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver disease, which if untreated can lead to cirrhosis and hepatic failure. The aim of the study was to investigate the incidence, prevalence, diagnostic tradition and clinical initial presentation of AIH. Material and methods. Analyses were performed in 473 patients identified as having probable or definite AIH. Results. The incidence of AIH was 0.85/100,000 (95% CI 0.69-1.01) inhabitants, which is somewhat lower than reported previously. The point prevalence amounted to 10.7/100,000 (95% CI 8.8-13.1), and 76% of the cases were females. The age-related incidence curve was bimodal but men were found to have only one incidence peak in the late teens, whereas women had a peak after menopause. AIH was presented as a spectrum of clinical settings from detected "en passant" to acute liver failure. Almost 30% of patients already had liver cirrhosis at diagnosis. Autoantibodies indicative of AIH type 1 were found in 79% of cases. Other concomitant autoimmune diseases were frequently found (49%). Conclusions. The incidence and prevalence figures confirm that AIH is a fairly uncommon disease in the Swedish population. Symptoms at presentation were unspecific, but almost half of the patients were jaundiced, with around 30% having liver cirrhosis. The majority of Swedish AIH patients had AIH type 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1232-1240
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express our gratitude for the help given by NS-CRI (North Sweden Clinical Research Institute) and especially that from Björn Tavelin. The study was supported by grants from the Bengt Ihres Fund, Umeå University and the Department of Medicine at Umeå University Hospital. Meda AB supported the SILK group meetings throughout the study.

Other keywords

  • ANA
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Initial presentation
  • SMA


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