“Acute liver failure”: the heart may be the matter.

Link to article at PubMed

"Acute liver failure": the heart may be the matter.

Acta Clin Belg. 2011 May-Jun;66(3):236-9

Authors: de Leeuw K, Meertens JH, van der Horst IC, van der Berg AP, Ligtenberg JJ, Tulleken JE, Zijlstra JG

Hypoxic hepatitis secondary to heart failure is a known and treatable cause of liver failure. The diagnosis may be difficult, especially when symptoms of heart failure are absent. We present two patients who were transferred to our hospital with the diagnosis of acute liver failure to be screened for a liver transplantation. Both patients had increased serum levels ofaminotransferases, lactic acidosis, coagulation disorders, and non-specific clinical symptoms. Echocardiography revealed right ventricular dysfunction. Treatment with inotropes resulted in a fast normalization of liver enzymes, acidosis and coagulation, confirming the diagnosis hypoxic hepatitis. In conclusion, when the cause of acute liver dysfunction is unclear, hypoxic hepatitis due to heart failure should be considered and echocardiography should be performed, even when symptoms are non-specific for heart failure.

PMID: 21837938 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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