Acute Liver Failure - Causes and Symptoms

Acute liver failure denotes the loss of liver function that occurs unexpectedly — within days or weeks. It happens in a person who does not have any previous liver complications. A hepatitis virus or medications are the most common causes of acute liver failure. The disease is rarer in comparison to chronic liver failure, which takes longer to develop. Acute liver failure is also called fulminant hepatic failure. It can be a life-threatening condition.

Gaurav Gupta Created on 15th Jun, 21

Acute liver failure denotes the loss of liver function that occurs unexpectedly — within days or weeks. It happens in a person who does not have any previous liver complications. A hepatitis virus or medications are the most common causes of acute liver failure. The disease is rarer in comparison to chronic liver failure, which takes longer to develop.

 

Many people in Mumbai suffer from liver complications. These complications can lead to acute liver failure. As a result, it is better to have the proper care in advance. Patients choose to get their liver treatment in India from overall the world due to the advance technology and infrastructure.

 

Acute liver failure is also called fulminant hepatic failure. It can be a life-threatening condition. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate admission to Liver ICU.

 

Acute liver failure may be treated and reversed, depending on the cause. However, in certain cases, there is no treatment available other than a liver transplant.

 

What are the symptoms of acute liver failure?

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of acute liver failure:

  • The patient’s skin and eyes will turn yellow. It is known as jaundice.
  • The patient will experience pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Swelling in the abdomen (ascites)
  • A feeling of nauseous and vomiting
  • A general feeling of being ill (malaise)
  • Sudden confusion or disorientation can happen
  • The patient may experience drowsiness

 

Acute liver failure is a life-threatening condition that can occur suddenly in healthy people. A person must visit a doctor if they experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. 

 

What are the causes of acute liver failure?

Acute liver failure occurs due to damaged liver cells. The following are some of the possible causes:

 

Causes of Acute Liver Failure

 

1.Overdosage with acetaminophen: The most common cause of acute liver failure in the western world is taking too much acetaminophen. In our country, this condition is not that common. Acetaminophen is also known as paracetamol and is widely used in treating fever and pain. Acute liver failure can result from a single large acetaminophen dose.

 

One must seek immediate medical care if they or around them have taken excessive amounts of acetaminophen. Treatment may save the liver from failing if treated timely. Do not wait for symptoms of liver failure to show.

 

2. Medications:  Certain prescription medications like Antibiotics, Antitubercular medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anticonvulsants may result in acute liver failure.

 

3. Viruses such as hepatitis and others: Acute liver failure can occur from Hepatitis A, B, and E. Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus are among the other viruses that can cause acute liver failure.

 

4. Supplements made from herbs: Acute liver failure has been linked to herbal medicines and supplements such as kava, ephedra, skullcap, and pennyroyal. Some of these things may contain heavy metals like lead, mercury which can damage the liver. These things are harmful to the liver and can cause severe damage over time.

 

5. Toxins: The poisonous wild mushroom Amanita phalloides, which is often mistaken as healthy to eat, contains toxins. It can cause acute liver failure after consumption. Another poison that can induce acute liver failure is carbon tetrachloride. It is an industrial chemical used in refrigerants and wax, varnish, and other materials solvents.

 

7. Metabolic disease: Certain rare metabolic disorders like acute fatty liver, Wilson's disease can lead to acute liver failure.  

 

6. Autoimmune disease: It is a form of autoimmune hepatitis, a disorder in which the immune system attacks the liver cells, causing inflammation and damage. It can lead to acute liver failure.

 

8. Cancer: Liver failure can occur due to liver cancer as well

 

9. Infections: A severe infection (sepsis) or shock can significantly reduce blood flow to the liver, resulting in liver failure.

Relevant Questions

If your doctor has told you that you have compensated cirrhosis, this means you are in the early stages of the disease. The cause of cirrhosis in such patients must be thoroughly investigated. These individuals must also be monitored by liver experts on a frequent basis in order to diagnose and treat issues when they emerge. These individuals must also adhere to a rigorous liver-related diet. Diets are usually changed and tailored to the specific needs of each patient. I hope this answers your question, and please contact me if you have any other questions!

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If a patient has alcohol-related liver injury generally treatment depends upon the degree of liver injury. some of the patients will recover after alcohol-related liver injury but in case of severe alcoholic hepatitis, liver transplant may be needed. 

If you want to know more, you can refer the article on Alcohol Liver Disease.

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