Acute liver failure.
Clin Med. 2015 Oct 5;15(5):468-72
Authors: Blackmore L, Bernal W
Acute liver failure (ALF) is a rare critical illness with high mortality whose successful management requires early recognition and effective initial management. Though it may result from a wide variety of causes, in the UK and much of the developed world most cases result from paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity, and administration of antidotal N-acetyl cysteine at first recognition is key. Involvement of local critical care services should occur at an early stage for stabilisation, monitoring and supportive care with parallel discussion with specialist liver centres to identify those patients who may benefit from transfer. Prognostic criteria are applied to identify patients for emergency liver transplantation, and candidates for surgery are prioritised on waitlisting schemes. Outcomes now approach that of elective surgery. However, the majority of cases, and particularly those with paracetamol-induced disease, recover with supportive medical care alone. Overall outcomes for patients with ALF have improved dramatically over the last three decades, but mortality remains unacceptable and further advances in care are required.
PMID: 26430188 [PubMed - in process]