Corticosteroid Therapy for Indeterminate Pediatric Acute Liver Failure and Aplastic Anemia with Acute Hepatitis

Catherine A. Chapin, Simon P. Horslen, James E. Squires, Henry Lin, Niviann Blondet, Saeed Mohammad, Estella M. Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the characteristics and outcomes of a multicenter patient cohort with indeterminate pediatric acute liver failure (IND-PALF) and with aplastic anemia with acute hepatitis treated with corticosteroids. Study design: Retrospective study of patients age 1-17 years with IND-PALF and aplastic anemia with acute hepatitis who presented between 2009 and 2018 to 1 of 4 institutions and were treated with corticosteroids for presumed immune dysregulation. Results: Of 28 patients with IND-PALF (median of 4.0 years of age [range 1-16] and 71% male) 71% (n = 20) were treated with 0.5-4 mg/kg/day of intravenous methylprednisolone, and 8 patients received 10 mg/kg/day followed by a taper. By 21 days postcorticosteroid initiation, 14 patients (50%) underwent liver transplantation, 13 patients (46%) recovered with their native liver, and 1 patient (4%) died. Patients who recovered with their native liver received a median of 139 days (range 19-749) of corticosteroid therapy, with a median of 12 days (range 1-240) to international normalized ratio ≤1.2. Patients with aplastic anemia with acute hepatitis (n = 6; median of 9.5 years of age [range 1-12], 83% male), received 1-2 mg/kg/day of methylprednisolone for a median of 100 days (range 63-183), and all recovered with their native liver. One patient with IND-PALF and 2 patients with aplastic anemia with acute hepatitis developed a serious infection within 90 days postcorticosteroid initiation. Conclusions: Many patients with IND-PALF or aplastic anemia with acute hepatitis that were treated with corticosteroids improved, but survival with native liver may not be different from historical reports. A randomized controlled trial exploring the benefits and risks of steroid therapy is needed before it is adopted broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • critical care
  • immune dysregulation
  • immunosuppression
  • liver transplantation
  • supportive care
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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