Etiology, outcome and prognostic indicators of acute liver failure in Asian children

Hepatol Int. 2022 Sep 21. doi: 10.1007/s12072-022-10417-5. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Outcome of pediatric acute liver failure (PALF) in countries with limited availability of LT is not well described. We evaluated the outcome and prognostic indicators of PALF in Malaysia where emergency LT for ALF is limited.

Methods: In this retrospective review on children < 18 years with PALF, we compared clinical and laboratory parameters between survival after supportive treatment and after LT or succumbed without LT. The predictive values of Liver Injury Unit (LIU; peak laboratory values for international normalized ratio [INR], ammonia, total bilirubin) and upon admission (aLIU) on outcome of PALF was evaluated using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves.

Results: Of 77 children (39 males [51%]; median age 2.8 years) with PALF, the overall survival was 55% (n = 42); 52% (n = 40) survived with supportive management, 2.6% (n = 2) after LT. As compared to children who survived without LT, children who had LT/died had lower hemoglobin, aspartate transferase, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), and higher serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, ammonia, and serum sodium (p < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, significant independent predictor for death or LT were peak bilirubin > 452 μmol/L and peak GGT < 96 IU/L. The C-index of LIU and aLIU score were 0.79 and 0.68, respectively, indicating that LIU score was a good model in predicting outcome of PALF.

Conclusions: Overall survival of PALF remained poor. High peak bilirubin and low GGT predict poor outcome of PALF. LIU score is a good model in predicting outcome of PALF and maybe useful in selecting children for emergency LT.

Keywords: Death; Dengue; Etiology; Indeterminate cause; Liver injury unit; Liver transplant; Outcome; Pediatric acute liver failure; Prognostic indicator; Spontaneous recovery.