ABC Medical Center > Alcoholic hepatitis

What is Alcoholic hepatitis?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It appears due to excessive alcohol consumption for several years that causes the liver to become inflamed, but it can also appear in individuals who drink alcoholic beverages moderately.

It is important to understand that to break down alcohol, the human body must generate highly toxic chemicals that cause inflammation of liver cells, destroying them and causing irreversible scarring of liver tissue that interferes with liver function.

Some conditions can contribute to the development of alcoholic hepatitis, such as:

  • Compulsive drinking.
  • Drink large amounts of alcohol.
  • Environmental and genetic factors.
  • Lack of nutrients that can damage the liver.
  • Overweight and obesity with high alcohol consumption.
  • Having hepatitis C and continuing to drink.

Signs and symptoms Alcoholic hepatitis

The characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Jaundice.
  • Tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • High fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomit.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Malnutrition.


  • Ascites.
  • Liver failure.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Varicose veins in the stomach and esophagus that can burst and cause fatal bleeding.
  • Behavioral alterations due to the effect of toxins that the liver is no longer capable of processing.
  • Confused mind.

Diagnosis and treatment Alcoholic hepatitis

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination and ask about your drinking habits throughout your life.

To confirm the diagnosis, it will be necessary to undergo different tests to assess your liver damage, the most common being:

  • Blood test.
  • Tests to assess liver function.
  • Ultrasound.
  • MRI.
  • Computed tomography.
  • Liver biopsy in case the previous studies do not provide clarity in the diagnosis.

Treatment focuses on stopping drinking and relieving liver damage symptoms through:

  • Medications that help reduce liver inflammation.
  • Support groups to quit alcohol permanently.
  • Nutrition plan.
  • Psychological therapy.

When the pathology is very advanced and the liver is already dysfunctional, the only option is a liver transplant.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Ospina-Toro JR, Bustamante-Duque M, Tangarife-Castaño V, et al. Hepatitis alcohólica. Medicina & Laboratorio. 2014;20(03-04):135-152.
  • Arredondo-Andrade SA, Elizalde-Barrera CI, Vargas-Ayala G. Hepatitis alcohólica grave: pentoxifilina como tratamiento de rescate en pacientes que no responden a esteroides. Med Int Mex. 2014;30(1):32-42.
  • Higuera-de la Tijera MF, Pérez-Hernández JL, Servín-Caamaño AI, et al. Hepatitis alcohólica. Rev Med Hosp Gen Mex. 2009;72(4):215-221.

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