Acute liver failure is a rare and devastating clinical condition resulting from sudden loss of hepatic parenchyma and metabolic function.
The Scottish Liver Transplant Unit (SLTU) offers specialist management and emergency liver transplantation to patients with acute liver failure from across Scotland.
Dr Donnelly and colleagues from the United Kingdom described temporal changes in number of admissions, etiology of acute liver failure, severity of disease at presentation, and outcomes over a 22-year period.
The research team performed a retrospective analysis of the SLTU database, including all patients admitted with acute liver injury or acute liver failure between 1992 and 2014.
There has been no change in the number of patients presenting with acute liver injury or failure secondary to paracetamol overdose, but a reduction in the number of admissions with acute liver injury or failure secondary to non paracetamol causes.
|Spontaneous survival rates improved over time for those patients with acute liver failure due to paracetamol|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Over time, disease severity at presentation has not changed in the paracetamol cohort.
The team observed that those with a non paracetamol etiology have latterly presented with milder hepatic encephalopathy.
The research team found that spontaneous survival rates improved significantly over time for those patients with acute liver failure due to paracetamol, and non paracetamol etiologies.
The most marked improvement in survival is observed in the sickest patients meeting Kings College Hospital poor prognostic criteria.
Dr Donnelly's team comments, "The number of admissions to the SLTU with acute liver failure is decreasing, due to reduced numbers of non paracetamol cases."
"Outcomes in this condition are improving, due to improvements in intensive care management and use of liver transplantation, and the increase in survival is most marked in patients meeting Kings College Hospital poor prognostic criteria."