The efficacy of methylprednisolone (1 g daily or three days), which is effective in reversing transplant rejection, was assessed in a randomised controlled trial of 55 patients with severe acute alcoholic hepatitis, 34 of whom had encephalopathy. The clinical progress, frequency of bleeding and sepsis, and cause of death were similar in the treatment (27 patients) and control groups (28 patients). There was no significant difference in mortality rate between the two groups: 57% of the control group and 63% of the treatment group died during the study. Patients' survival depended on the presence of absence of the following features: encephalopathy, serum bilirubin concentration more than 340 micromol/l, serum creatinine concentration more than 250 micromol/l, and histological evidence of cirrhosis as well as severe acute alcoholic hepatitis.
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