Giant cell hepatitis

Giant Cell Hepatitis: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Abbreviation: GCH.Also called as neonathal hepatitis.Giant Cell HepatitisNeonatal Hepatitis, also known as Giant Cell Hepatitis, is a liver disease of infancy. It is the most common cause of interrupted bile flow from the liver in newborns.The exact cause of Neonatal Hepatitis is not fully understood. Most cases occur for no apparent reason (sporadic). However, some cases of Neonatal Hepatitis may be inherited as an autosomal recessive genetic trait.Hepatitis in the neonatal period presumed to be due to any of a variety of causes, chiefly viral; characterized by direct and indirect bilirubinemia, hepatocellular degeneration, and appearance of multinucleated giant cells; may be difficult to distinguish from biliary atresia, but is more likely to end with recovery, although cirrhosis may develop.Patients with neonatal hepatitis caused by rubella or cytomegalovirus are at risk of developing an infection of the brain that could lead to mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Many of these infants will also have permanent liver disease from the destruction of liver cells and the resulting scarring (cirrhosis).About 20 percent of the infants with neonatal giant cell hepatitis develop chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. Their liver becomes very hard, due to the scarring, and the jaundice does not disappear by six months of age. Infants who reach this point in the disease eventually will require a liver transplant.Because of the blockage of the bile ducts and the damage caused to liver cells, infants with chronic neonatal hepatitis will not be able to digest fats and will not be able to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. The lack of vitamin D leads to poor bone and cartilage development (rickets). Vitamin A is also needed for normal growth and good vision. Vitamin K deficiency is associated with easy bruising and a tendency to bleed, whereas the lack of vitamin E results in poor coordination.Chronic neonatal hepatitis will lead to the inability of the liver to eliminate toxins in the bile. This causes itching, skin eruptions and irritability.Symptoms:The symptoms of Neonatal Hepatitis may include an abnormal yellow discoloration of the skin (jaundice), pale stools, and/or dark urine.Diagnosis:Diagnosis may be difficult on many occasions, but the surgical treatment of biliary atresia should be performed as early as possible.Treatment Options:There is no specific treatment for neonatal hepatitis. Vitamin supplements are usually prescribed and many infants are given phenobarbital, a drug used to control seizures, but which also stimulates the liver to excrete additional bile. Formulas containing more easily digested fats are also given to the infant.Neonatal hepatitis caused by the hepatitis A virus also usually resolves itself within six months, but cases that are the result of infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C viruses most likely will result in chronic liver disease. Infants who develop cirrhosis ultimately will need a liver transplant.The treatment of neonatal hepatitis involves management of the symptoms and preventing any further complications. This involves the use of certain medicines to increase bile flow and relieve the severe itching cause by the build up of bile in skin. Vitamin supplements are used because reduced bile leads to difficulties in absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K.Neonatal hepatitis patients are often on specific diets that include very high caloric intake and formulas that are rich in fats. A small number of hepatitis patients may develop severe liver damage and will need a liver transplant.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. 

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