Clinical diagnosis and treatment of acute fatty liver of pregnancy: a literature review and 11 new cases

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2010 Aug;36(4):751-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2010.01242.x.


Aim: To determine the clinical presentation, biochemical findings, complications, clinical diagnosis and management of patients with acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP). The influence of the mode of delivery on maternal-perinatal mortality is analyzed and two methods of diagnostic imaging are compared.

Material & methods: Eleven cases of AFLP identified at the West China Second Hospital of Sichuan University from January 2003 to June 2008 were studied. To provide additional evidence, 342 cases of AFLP were reviewed retrospectively from original articles researched in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure between the same period.

Results: All cases presented with a prodrome of nausea, vomiting, malaise and jaundice. Raised transaminases and serum bilirubin were found in all patients (100%), hypoglycemia was found in two patients (18.2%) and hypoproteinemia was found in five patients (45.5%). All cases were confirmed by diagnostic criteria and clinical assessment. Diagnostic imaging helped to confirm the diagnoses. Ultrasound was used to diagnose nine patients (81.8%), and two (18.2%) patients were diagnosed by computerized tomography. Except for one patient whose labor was induced with oxytocin because of fetal death before admission, all other pregnancies were terminated by cesarean section within 24 h of definitive diagnosis. All patients and neonates survived delivery. One (9.1%) maternal death and one (7.2%) fetal death occurred.

Conclusions: Early diagnosis, termination of pregnancy by Cesarean section as soon as possible and comprehensive therapy are crucial for improving the prognoses of both mother and newborn.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Cesarean Section*
  • China
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Fatty Liver / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice / diagnosis
  • Jaundice / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vomiting / diagnosis
  • Vomiting / therapy