DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Acute liver failure occurs when your liver rapidly loses its ability to function. More commonly, liver failure develops slowly over the course of years. But in acute liver failure, liver failure develops in a matter of days.
Acute liver failure can cause many complications, including excessive bleeding and increasing pressure in the brain. Another term for acute liver failure is fulminant hepatic failure.
Acute liver failure is a medical emergency that requires hospitalization. Some causes of acute liver failure can be reversed with treatment. But in other situations, a liver transplant may be the only cure for acute liver failure.
- Polson J, et al. AASLD position paper: The management of acute liver failure. Hepatology. 2005;41:1179.
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- An introduction to liver care. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/downloads/alf_download_29.pdf. Accessed May 27, 2011.