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Autoimmune Hepatitis
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Liver failure

What is Liver Failure?

Liver failure is a condition that occurs when large parts of the liver become damaged beyond repair and the liver is no longer able to function.

Liver failure is a life-threatening condition that demands urgent medical care. Most often liver failure occurs gradually and over many years.

Acute Liver Failure

Acute liver failure is a rare condition. Acute liver failure occurs rapidly (in as little as 48 hours) and can be difficult to detect initially.

What Causes Liver Failure?

There are several causes of liver failure. The most common causes of liver failure are:

Symptoms of Liver Failure

The early symptoms of liver failure are similar to symptoms of many other conditions. Because of this, liver failure may initially difficult to diagnose. Some of the most common initial symptoms of liver failure are:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea

As liver failure progresses, the symptoms become more serious. The most common symptoms of advanced liver failure include: ,

  • Jaundice
  • Bleeding easily
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Mental disorientation or confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Coma

Can Liver Failure be Treated?

Treatment options depend on the cause. If detected early enough, acute liver failure caused by an overdose of acetaminophen can sometimes be treated and its effects reversed.

If liver failure is the result of long-term deterioration, the initial focus may be on saving whatever part of the liver is still functioning. If saving part of the liver is not an option, the only other treatment option is a liver transplant. Liver transplants are a common procedure that is often successful.

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