Acute liver failure natural history, complications and prognosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Husnain Shaukat, M.D [2]

Overview

Acute liver failure is a sudden and severe loss of liver function with evidence of encephalopathy and coagulopathy with elevated prothrombin time (PT) and (INR) in a person without preexisting liver disease. The commonly used time duration for an acute liver disease is < 26 weeks. Acute liver failure can be hyperacute, acute or subacute depending upon how long the patient has signs and symptoms of liver failure. If left untreated, patients with acute liver failure can eventually progress to develop confusion, comatose state, and death. Common complications of acute liver failure are hepatic encephalopathy, cerebral edema, coagulopathy, a systemic inflammatory response syndrome, acute renal failure and acute pulmonary failure. The important factors in determining the prognosis of acute liver failure include patients' age, the severity of encephalopathy and the underlying cause of acute liver failure. The commonly used prognostic indicators to predict mortality in patients with acute liver failure and to identify patients who are likely to benefit from liver transplantation include kings college criteria ( used for liver transplantation ) and model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score (to predict mortality in patients with chronic and acute liver disease).

Natural History

Acute liver failure is a sudden and severe loss of liver function with evidence of encephalopathy and coagulopathy with elevated prothrombin time (PT) and (INR) in a person without preexisting liver disease. The commonly used time duration for an acute liver disease is < 26 weeks.[1]

Complications

Complications that can develop as a result of acute liver failure are:[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

Prognosis

  • The important factors in determining the prognosis of acute liver failure include patients' age, the severity of encephalopathy and the underlying cause of acute liver failure.[13][14][15][16][17][18]
  • Several prognostic scoring systems to predict mortality in patients with acute liver failure and to identify patients who are likely to benefit from liver transplantation include:

References

  1. Bower WA, Johns M, Margolis HS, Williams IT, Bell BP (2007). "Population-based surveillance for acute liver failure". Am J Gastroenterol. 102 (11): 2459–63. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01388.x. PMID 17608778.
  2. Kumar R, Shalimar. Bhatia V, Khanal S, Sreenivas V, Gupta SD; et al. (2010). "Antituberculosis therapy-induced acute liver failure: magnitude, profile, prognosis, and predictors of outcome". Hepatology. 51 (5): 1665–74. doi:10.1002/hep.23534. PMID 20196116.
  3. Riordan SM, Williams R (1997). "Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy". N. Engl. J. Med. 337 (7): 473–9. doi:10.1056/NEJM199708143370707. PMID 9250851.
  4. Lee WM (1993). "Acute liver failure". N. Engl. J. Med. 329 (25): 1862–72. doi:10.1056/NEJM199312163292508. PMID 8305063.
  5. Muñoz SJ (1993). "Difficult management problems in fulminant hepatic failure". Semin. Liver Dis. 13 (4): 395–413. PMID 8303321.
  6. Hazell AS, Butterworth RF (1999). "Hepatic encephalopathy: An update of pathophysiologic mechanisms". Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 222 (2): 99–112. PMID 10564534.
  7. Larsen FS, Wendon J (2002). "Brain edema in liver failure: basic physiologic principles and management". Liver Transpl. 8 (11): 983–9. doi:10.1053/jlts.2002.35779. PMID 12424710.
  8. Armstrong IR, Pollok A, Lee A (1993). "Complications of intracranial pressure monitoring in fulminant hepatic failure". Lancet. 341 (8846): 690–1. PMID 8095592.
  9. Schmidt LE, Larsen FS (2006). "hyperlactatemia". Crit. Care Med. 34 (2): 337–43. PMID 16424712.
  10. Harry R, Auzinger G, Wendon J (2002). "The clinical importance of adrenal insufficiency in acute hepatic dysfunction". Hepatology. 36 (2): 395–402. doi:10.1053/jhep.2002.34514. PMID 12143048.
  11. Bihari D, Gimson AE, Waterson M, Williams R (1985). "Tissue hypoxia during fulminant hepatic failure". Crit. Care Med. 13 (12): 1034–9. PMID 3933911.
  12. Trewby PN, Warren R, Contini S; et al. (1978). "Incidence and pathophysiology of pulmonary edema in fulminant hepatic failure". Gastroenterology. 74 (5 Pt 1): 859–65. PMID 346431.
  13. Dhiman RK, Seth AK, Jain S, Chawla YK, Dilawari JB (1998). "Prognostic evaluation of early indicators in fulminant hepatic failure by multivariate analysis". Dig. Dis. Sci. 43 (6): 1311–6. PMID 9635624.
  14. Huo TI, Wu JC, Sheng WY, Chan CY, Hwang SJ, Chen TZ, Lee SD (1996). "Prognostic factor analysis of fulminant and subfulminant hepatic failure in an area endemic for hepatitis B". J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 11 (6): 560–5. PMID 8792311.
  15. Takahashi Y, Kumada H, Shimizu M, Tanikawa K, Kumashiro R, Omata M, Ehata T, Tsuji T, Ukida M, Yasunaga M (1994). "A multicenter study on the prognosis of fulminant viral hepatitis: early prediction for liver transplantation". Hepatology. 19 (5): 1065–71. PMID 8175127.
  16. Lake JR, Sussman NL (1995). "Determining prognosis in patients with fulminant hepatic failure: when you absolutely, positively have to know the answer". Hepatology. 21 (3): 879–82. PMID 7875687.
  17. Pauwels A, Mostefa-Kara N, Florent C, Lévy VG (1993). "Emergency liver transplantation for acute liver failure. Evaluation of London and Clichy criteria". J. Hepatol. 17 (1): 124–7. PMID 8445211.
  18. Rutherford A, King LY, Hynan LS, Vedvyas C, Lin W, Lee WM, Chung RT (2012). "Development of an accurate index for predicting outcomes of patients with acute liver failure". Gastroenterology. 143 (5): 1237–43. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2012.07.113. PMC 3480539. PMID 22885329.



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