Acute Liver Failure

Also known as: liver failure, fulminant hepatic failure.

What is acute liver failure?

Acute liver failure is a rare condition in which the liver stops working quite rapidly, and often with no other previous liver problems being present. Due to the rapid failure of vital organs, the condition can cause a number of dangerous health complications.

What causes acute liver failure?

Several factors can contribute to acute liver failure. These include the use or overuse of medications like acetaminophen and certain prescription drugs. Conditions such infections (hepatitis), immune dysfunction, metabolic diseases or toxins/drug related, or cancer can also cause acute liver failure.

What are the symptoms of acute liver failure?

Symptoms of acute liver failure can include nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, abdominal pain and swelling, confusion, malaise, sleepiness, jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and eyes, seizures and coma.

What are acute liver failure care options?

In certain cases, medications or diet may help to limit the damage done to the liver due to poisoning or drug overuse. Certain medications and therapies can also relieve the complications of acute liver failure, including reducing the risk of severe bleeding or relieving pressure on the brain. If the damage is severe, a liver transplant may be the only potential treatment.

Reviewed by: John M. Peters, DO

This page was last updated on: 2/5/2018 3:39:34 PM

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