September 1983

Acute Hepatitis in Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

Padova, Italy

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(9):1829. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350090211044

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To the Editor.  —In an August Archives article (1982;142:1485-1488) Goodson and colleagues described the clinical course of acute hepatitis in elderly patients. The authors concluded that, in the elderly, acute hepatitis (at least of the non-A, non-B type) has a benign course, despite a trend observed toward persistent abnormalities in liver-function test results. In fact, 17 of the 23 patients they described had acute hepatitis of the non-A, non-B type, and, of the only four cases of type-B acute hepatitis reported, two progressed to chronic active hepatitis. On the basis of this observation, one may infer that the authors' conclusions do not apply to type-B hepatitis.

Report of Cases.  —We studied the clinical course of hepatitis B surface antigen—positive acute hepatitis in 17 elderly patients, 13 women and four men (mean age, 81 years; range, 65 to 91 years). All hepatitis cases were of the sporadic type; in 15 cases,

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