Liver & intrahepatic bile ducts

Acute and chronic hepatitis

Hepatitis (acute and chronic)-general

Topic Completed: 1 July 2015

Minor changes: 15 December 2020

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: General acute and chronic hepatitis[TI] liver

Rifat Mannan, M.D.
Songyang Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2020: 4,628
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Cite this page: Mannan A.A.S.R. Hepatitis (acute and chronic)-general. website. Accessed November 27th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Inflammation of liver resulting in liver injury
  • Most common pattern of hepatic injury
  • Can be either acute or chronic
Clinical features
  • Acute hepatitis
    • Initial symptoms are mostly nonspecific, such as nausea, body ache, fever, nausea, vomiting, etc.
    • Profound loss of appetite, choluria (dark urine), jaundice and abdominal discomfort / pain are relatively specific symptoms of hepatitis
    • Small proportion of patients present with acute liver failure
  • Chronic hepatitis
    • May be asymptomatic or with nonspecific constitutional symptoms
    • Often detected by laboratory evaluation
    • Extensive damage may lead to features of cirrhosis and portal hypertension
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Acute hepatitis - characterized by "lobular disarray," which includes:
    • Ballooning degeneration
    • Spotty necrosis
    • Predominantly sinusoidal and lobular mononuclear cell infiltrate
    • Kupffer cell hyperplasia
    • Apoptotic bodies
    • Canalicular cholestasis
  • Chronic hepatitis - characterized by varying degrees of:
    • Portal inflammation
    • Interface hepatitis
    • Parenchymal inflammation and necrosis
    • Fibrosis / cirrhosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Chronic hepatitis

Additional references
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