Living with a chronic disease is often accompanied with discomfort, which in turn will diminish quality of life. Previous studies reported on impaired health related quality of life (HrQoL) in patients with chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. Recently a german study reported that in AIH patients especially mental wellbeing is impaired when compared to the general population. The authors incorporated a series of extra questions, which depicted that the main reasons for their finding may be the uncertainty patients experience about the progression of their disease and also found a possible effect of corticosteroid use. There are many factors that could be of influence on impairment of quality of life in chronically ill patients. Daily use of immunosuppressive drugs and their side effects have an effect on HrQoL in solid organ transplant recipients and IBD patients. Unpleasant and even severe side effects like diabetes mellitus type 2, cataracts, hypertension, depression, nausea, fat redistribution, psychosis and osteoporosis are well known in corticosteroid users and rationally these side effects can have a serious impact on HrQoL. The daily dose in AIH patients however usually is lower than in other autoimmune diseases and it is unknown if there is an influence of drug related side effects in AIH patients. The aim of this study is to assess perceived quality of life in adult patients with autoimmune hepatitis in comparison to a healthy reference population derived from a Dutch city and to assess the effects of drug-related side effects, the time since diagnosis, the influence of an overlap syndrome, the stage of fibrosis/cirrhosis.
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