Liver failure is a condition in which the liver functions improperly and large parts of it are damaged to such an extent that they cannot be repaired.
Liver failure is of 2 types: a) Acute liver failure and b) Chronic liver failure. Acute liver occurs rapidly in a short span of a few days or weeks. It may occur without any symptom. Acute liver failure can be caused as a result or overdose of drugs or poisoning caused by mushrooms. Chronic liver failure occurs over a comparatively slower span of time, like months or years. It is caused by liver cirrhosis, which occurs due to alcohol consumption over a long period of time. Liver failure presents a threat of life and needs immediate medical attention.
Causes of Acute liver failure are:
- Overdose caused by Acetaminophen.
- Hepatitis A, B and C.
- Consumptions of mushrooms leading to poisoning.
- Reactions caused by herbal or prescribed medicines.
Causes of Chronic liver failure:
- Hemochromatosis: an inherited condition causing the body to absorb and store excess iron.
- Consumption of alcohol over a long period of time.
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C.
- Autoimmune hepatitis — a disease in which your immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation and injury.
- Hepatic encephalopathy- a state of confusion
- Decrease appetite
- Bleeding or bruises caused easily
- Loss of body weight
- Swelling in abdomen and legs
- Blood tests: Doctors recommend blood test to observe the functioning of the liver. The duration blood takes in clotting is determined with the help of a Prothrombin time test. However, acute liver failure does not cause the blood to clot quickly.
- Imaging tests: Doctors recommend imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. Ultrasound helps detect liver damage with the help of sounds. CT scan or MRI to observe liver and blood vessels. These tests can look for certain causes of acute liver failure, such as Budd-Chiari syndrome or tumors.
- Liver biopsy: Doctors recommend liver biopsy, which involves removing a small tissue of liver with the help of a needle and catheter and then examining it.
- Liver transplant: Liver transplant involves the replacement of the damaged liver with a healthy liver from the donor.
- Artificial liver assist device: This is dialysis of the liver. It involves a machine to do the job of a liver. It has helped patients with acute liver failure survive. This process is also called high-volume plasma exchange.
- Hepatocyte Transplantation: This treatment involves the transfer of only the cells of the liver and not the entire liver, with an intention to delay liver transplant.
- Xenotransplantation: This treatment involves replacing the human liver with the liver of an animal. Earlier, the liver of a pig was used in this surgery.
- Medications: Medicine called Acetylcysteine can be used to treat overdose of Actetaminophen. It can also be taken to eradicate other causes of acute liver failure like poisoning caused by mushroom. It reverses the harmful effects of the toxins and reduces damage caused to the liver.
- Medications to reduce fluid buildup in the brain: Acute liver failure can cause Cerebral Edema which increases pressure on the brain. Administration of medicines can help reduce this buildup.
- Medications for severer bleeding: The loss of excess blood can be treated by giving medications by the doctor. The doctors may also conduct blood and urine test to discover the cause.
Life after surgery:
Liver transplants are usually a great success. According to the most recent year computed UNOS/OPTN (2004) national average one-year graft survival at 83%, and patient survival at 87% for patients receiving a deceased donor liver and 92% for those transplanted with an organ from a living donor.
After a liver transplant, a patient is recommended to stay in the I.C.U for a few days and then later shifted to the transplant recovery area for 5-10 days. The patient can then go back to normal day-to-day activities. Regular follow-ups are advised and patients have to take the medicines for lifetime.
- Keeping away from use of drugs.
- Use of Aerosol spray cans in areas that are ventilated.
- Engaging in safe sex.
- Taking a vaccine for Hepatitis.
Patients with acute liver failure caused by acetaminophen have a better prognosis. However, patients who have stage 3 or 4 encephalopathy have a poor prognosis.
The annual cost of treatment:
- a) micro-costing results: $1110.17 for stage A, $549.55 for stage B and $348.16 for stage C;
- b) IMSS costs: $4269.00, $16949.63 and $30249.25, respectively.
New Life Clinics offers a low-risk way to treat Liver failure. Our team of experienced and skilled doctors make life at hospital a painless one and guarantee a speedy recovery.