Acute Liver Failure: Pathophysiologic Basis, and The Current and Emerging Therapies

Graziella Privitera, Banwari Agarwal, *Rajiv Jalan

Department of Medicine, UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Heath,
University College London, Royal Free Hospital, London, United Kingdom
*Correspondence to r.jalan@ucl.ac.uk

Disclosure: No potential conflict of interest.
Received: 13.01.14 Accepted: 23.04.14
Citation: EMJ Hepatol. 2014;1:99-107.

Abstract

Acute liver failure (ALF) is a devastating condition that occurs in patients who previously had a normal liver. Although the outcome of patients with ALF has improved, without liver transplantation (LT) mortality rates remain in the range of 35-50% in different geographical areas and therefore, its treatment remains an unmet need. In the Western world toxic liver injury from acetaminophen remains one of the common causes but, in the East, hepatitis of unknown aetiology remains the most common cause. Treatment options are limited to meticulous attention to multi-organ support, use of N-acetyl cysteine, judicious use of antibiotics, and timely LT. This review describes the state-of-the-art techniques in the issues related to prognosis, outcome, and treatment of this devastating syndrome.

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