[Acute liver failure in Korea: etiology, prognosis and treatment]

Young Suk Lim
Korean Journal of Hepatology 2010, 16 (1): 5-18
Acute liver failure (ALF) is a rare condition in which rapid deterioration of liver function results in altered mentation and coagulopathy in individuals without previously recognized liver disease. The outcomes of patients with ALF vary greatly according to etiology, and the etiology of ALF varies markedly by geographical region. In Korea, about 90% of ALF are associated with etiologies that usually result in poor outcomes, including hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and herbal remedies. The main causes of death in patients with ALF are increased intracranial pressure, systemic infection, and multi-organ failure. Recent advances in the intensive care of patients with ALF have contributed to a marked improvement in their overall survival. Emergency adult to adult living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) can be performed expeditiously and safely for patients with ALF, and greatly improves survival rate as well as deceased-donor transplantation. As the window during which transplantation is possible is limited, emergency adult LDLT should be considered to be one of the first-line treatment options in patients with ALF, especially in regions in which ALFs are caused by etiologies associated with poor outcome and the supply of organs is very limited.

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