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Autoimmune Liver Diseases Treatment Information
Treatments and symptom management for autoimmune liver diseases are undergoing many advances in ways that make more tolerable options available to you or your child. We deliver therapies that are more effective at reducing symptoms and achieving remission. Many clinical trials are underway and the latest treatments – if started early – can delay disease progression.
- Diagnosis. We use many tests and techniques to pinpoint your autoimmune liver disease diagnosis, including blood and imaging tests and biopsies.
- Blood tests. Your physician checks the status of your blood cell counts, liver function and the presence of autoimmune antibodies.
- Imaging tests. We use several different advanced procedures to obtain images of your liver and bile ducts. Your physician may use:
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Additional liver and biliary diagnostic imaging tests include: cholangiography, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC), and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatograph (MRCP).
- Biopsy. Your gastroenterologist may perform a biopsy to further study the damage to your liver or biliary cells. A liver biopsy can be performed by needle or surgery. A bile duct biopsy or biliary brushing can be performed using an endoscope.
- FibroScan. This new technology lets your doctor complete an external scan of your liver to check for stiffness, scarring and fatty deposits without a biopsy. The scan lets your physician diagnosis your condition and monitor how your liver responds to treatment.
- Medicines. There are many new therapies available to treat autoimmune liver disorders. For autoimmune hepatitis we often start treatment with steroids, followed by long-term immune suppression with non-steroidal medicines, a technique we borrow from therapies used with transplant patients to deliver the best immune suppression outcomes. We are studying the use of antifibrotic medicines to manage the fibrosis common in primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis. Medicines to combat symptoms of itching and fatigue are also prescribed.
- Stricture management. If you have primary sclerosing cholangitis, the inflammation and scarring of tissue can restrict or stop the flow of bile from your gallbladder through your biliary system. We use endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and double balloon enteroscopy (a push-pull procedure that lets your physician examine parts of your biliary system that are difficult to reach) to dilate and open the narrowed passageways to allow for better bile flow. Balloon enteroscopy can also be used for biopsies.
- Research. We conduct ongoing genetic and environmental research into autoimmune liver disease through the Autoimmune Hepatitis Research Network. We also take part and recommend patients for many clinical trials of new medicines to treat autoimmune liver diseases and the fibrosis that accompanies the conditions.
Autoimmune Liver Diseases Locations & Physicians
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Autoimmune Liver Diseases Support Services
Learn more about autoimmune liver diseases treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Autoimmune Liver Diseases Support Services
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
This division of the National Institutes of Health provides symptom, diagnosis, treatment and clinical trial information for autoimmune hepatitis.
Indiana University Autoimmune Hepatitis Research Network
This project delivers information to help patients take part in research studies and access additional resources.