The probable etiology and outcome of bridging hepatic necrosis found on a liver biopsy performed within three months of the onset of clinical illness was evaluated in 42 consecutive patients with this finding. Eighteen of the patients (43%) had a probable drug etiology for their hepatitis. Ten patients had HBsAG-positive acute hepatitis. Fourteen patients had neither drug-induced disease nor proven HBsAg-positive hepatitis. One patient from the drug-induced group died, but the other 17 had complete clinical recovery. Eight of ten in the hepatitis B antigen-positive group cleared their antigen and had complete clinical recovery. Chronic hepatitis developed in two who remained persistently HBsAg positive. Eight of the patients in the group with unknown etiology recovered, while six developed evidence of active chronic liver disease. This incidence of active chronic liver disease is significantly greater than that found in the drug-induced group (P<0.02). We conclude that drug-induced hepatitis accounts for a significant proportion of patients of acute hepatitis who have bridging hepatic necrosis on liver biopsy. However, in these drug-induced cases the finding of bridging hepatic necrosis does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of development of active chronic liver disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas