Hepatic failure, or acute liver failure, is a condition characterized by the sudden loss of 70 percent or more of the liver's function. This diseased state may be due to sudden, massive, hepatic necrosis (tissue death in the liver).
Primary and secondary hepatobiliary disorders - those dealing with the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts or bile - are generally associated with variable hepatic necrosis. However, acute liver failure from severe hepatic necrosis is an uncommon phenomenon. Acute liver failure can affect the body through a number of system failures:
Acute liver failure is most often caused by infectious agents or toxins, poor flow of fluids into the liver and surrounding tissues (perfusion), hypoxia (inability to breathe), drugs or chemicals that are destructive to the liver (hepatotoxic), and excess exposure to heat. Necrosis (tissue death) sets in, with loss of liver enzymes and impaired liver function ultimately leading to complete organ failure.
Acute liver failure also occurs due to extensive metabolic disorders in protein synthesis (albumin, transport protein, procoagulant and anticoagulant protein factors), and glucose absorption, as well as abnormalities in the metabolic detoxification process. If this condition is not treated promptly, it can result in death.
Acute liver failure is diagnosed through a full blood workup (hematology), biochemistry analysis, urine analysis, biopsy (the removal and analysis of affected tissue), and ultrasound or radiology imaging.
Hematology/biochemistry/urine analyses will test for:
Lab Tests will be used to look for:
Imaging tests will look for:
Less oxygen than normal in the blood
A condition in which the skin becomes yellow in color as do the mucous membranes; this is due to excess amounts of bilirubin.
Referring to the liver
The removal and destruction of red blood cells
The protein that moves oxygen in the blood
Anything pertaining to the blood vessel system in the body
A condition of dead tissue
The product of protein being metabolized; can be found in blood or urine.
The study of the internal structures of the body as pertaining to ionizing radiation
The flow of blood through bodily tissue
The study of the causes and development of disease
Passing stool with blood in it
Appearing like particles or small granules in texture
A certain pigment that is produced when hemoglobin is destroyed.
The fluid created by the liver that helps food in the stomach to be digested.
Term used to refer to any drug that is used to slow down or stop the clotting of blood for medical purposes.
A type of protein that can be dissolved in water; found in milk, egg white, certain muscle, blood, and some urine.
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
A passage in the body with walls
A substance that causes chemical change to another
A disease of the brain of any type
The collection of fluid in the tissue
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.