Autoimmune Liver Disease

Autoimmune liver disease refers to a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the cells of the liver. This can lead to inflammation and damage of these cells. The exact cause of the disorder is unclear, although it is thought that some diseases and toxins may trigger the condition in susceptible populations (in particular, females). Symptoms of the disease can be mild or severe, and may develop suddenly or over time. These symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchiness

However, many people experience few or no symptoms during the early stages of the disease.

Treatment for Autoimmune Liver Disease

If left untreated, autoimmune liver disease can lead to extensive cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver and ultimately liver failure. However, if detected early enough, treatment typically relies on immunosuppressant medications, which aim to slow or stop the body’s immune system from attacking the liver. If such medications fail to work or if the damage to the liver is too significant by the time of diagnosis, transplantation is the only remaining option for the patient.

We Can Help

For additional assistance from an outreach liaison, please contact:

Sharyn Kreitzer, MSW
Senior Outreach Liaison

Transplant Living Center

With amenities including ten bedrooms and two kitchens, the Transplant Living Center (with concierge Allyson Reala) is a "home away from home" for patients and families.