Acute Liver Failure

AACN Adv Crit Care. 2016 Oct;27(4):420-429. doi: 10.4037/aacnacc2016324.


Acute liver failure, also known as fulminant hepatic failure, is a rare life-threatening disease that has a high mortality rate and affects many organ systems. Causes of acute liver failure vary-it can be attributed to drugs, viruses, and other uncommon sources. Complications of liver failure can include encephalopathy, cerebral edema, sepsis, renal failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and respiratory failure. Fortunately, with advances in critical care medicine and emergent liver transplant, mortality rates have decreased in the past decade. This article reviews acute liver failure, its manifestations in different organ systems, and its treatment.

Keywords: acute liver failure; hepatic failure; liver transplant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care / standards*
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Liver Failure, Acute / drug therapy
  • Liver Failure, Acute / nursing*
  • Liver Failure, Acute / surgery
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*