Acute Liver Failure – Causes, symptoms and treatment

What is acute liver failure?

Acute liver failure is a rare condition that develops when your liver loses its ability to function. The condition usually develops after an overdose of medication or poisoning. This condition can lead to excessive bleeding and increased pressure in the brain. Acute liver failure is also called hepatic failure

What causes acute liver failure?

It can be brought on by cancer, toxins, diseases in the liver, heat stroke, shock, hepatitis and other viruses, herbal supplements and prescription medications. Diseases such as Wilson disease and autoimmune diseases can also cause acute liver failure. On very rare occasions, the disease develops without any reason.

Symptoms of acute liver failure

You may experience symptoms such as;

  • Diarrhoea
  • Discomfort on the right side of your body
  • Nausea
  • No appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Breath is musty or has a sweet odour
  • Tremors
  • Yellowing of your skin and eyeballs, which is jaundice
  • A general feeling of being unwell

As the disease progresses, people who suffer from it will become more sleepy and confused. Other symptoms patients may experience are bleeding, bruising, vomiting blood, and fluid build-up in the abdomen.

Acute Liver Failure Treatment
  • A liver transplant Surgery is done when Liver Transplant Surgeons  feel other treatments have not worked. During a transplant, a surgeon removes your liver and replaces your liver with a healthy liver from a suitable and willing Liver Donor.
  • Supplements are provided to treat your nutritional deficiencies.
  • Medicines will be provided to patients so that internal bleeding can be prevented. They are also provided to reduce fluid build-up in the brain.
  • Samples of blood and urine are taken to see if infections are formed. Medications are given in case you have infections.  

Medication is also done to reverse poisoning. Acetylcysteine is a medication used to treat acetaminophen overdose. The same medicines can be used to treat other causes of acute liver failure.

Who is at risk?

Acetaminophen is highly likely to cause liver failure. It is a painkiller and is also an over-the-counter medication. If you have conditions such as Epstein virus, hepatitis, Wilson’s disease, and herpes simplex virus, you are more likely to get acute liver failure.

Some points to remember 

  • If you experience fatigue, nausea, discomfort on the right side and diarrhoea, visit your best gastroenterologist in chennai immediately. 
  • This condition is less common than chronic liver failure.
  • Chronic liver develops gradually, but acute liver failure takes only a few days or weeks to occur.
  • The symptoms are usually similar to other liver conditions. Hence, it isn’t easy to diagnose at first.

How can acute liver failure be prevented?

– Do not eat wild mushrooms

– Maintain a healthy body weight

– Avoid contact with other people’s body fluids and blood.

– Avoid any kind of risky behaviour that involves consuming dangerous substances