Chronic alcohol related liver disease is characterized by a cascade of events defined as follows: steatosis, steatohepatitis/steatofibrosi, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. On one of these histologic patterns may overlap acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAE) (mild, moderate, severe). Severe AAE can cause a severe clinical picture: jaundice with a duration of less than three months, jaundice in the first decompensation event, serum bilirubin higher than 5 mg/dL, ratio AST/ALT >2:1, AST less than 500 IU/L ALT <300 IU/L, neutrophil leukocytosis and increased GGT. In addition, it is possible the presence of encephalopathy, fever, fatigue, coagulopathy. The onset can also be characterized by portal hypertension-related complications. An extremely severe clinical condition is the superposition of an acute insult to a chronic framework, not necessarily a cirrhotic one. This condition has been termed acute on chronic (acute on chronic liver failure - ACLF:), and it is possible to have a SIRS (systemic inflammation response syndrome) with a multi-organ system involvement. The diagnosis, in selected cases, can be confirmed by a transjugular biopsy that allows to reach a histologic prognostic stratification. Several indices are used for the assessment of prognosis and in particular the MDF and the MELD. In our clinical practice we use the MELD. In case of ACLF, the consortium organ failure score (CLIF-C OFS) is used. The therapy is characterized by alcohol abstention, and, in severe forms (MDF >32 and MELD >21) with absence of contraindications, it is possible to use steroids therapy. If a positive answers cannot be obtained, an early liver transplantation is proposed. This possibility, after a careful selection, now is promoted by several authors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas