ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Acute liver failure often causes complications, including:
- Excessive fluid in the brain (cerebral edema). Excessive fluid causes pressure to build in your brain, which can displace brain tissue outside of the space it normally occupies (herniation). Cerebral edema can also deprive your brain of oxygen.
- Bleeding disorders. A failing liver isn't able to produce sufficient amounts of clotting factors, which help blood to clot. Bleeding from ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract or other locations is difficult to control because blood doesn't clot quickly.
- Infections. People with acute liver failure are at an increased risk of developing a variety of infections, particularly in the blood and in the respiratory and urinary tracts.
- Kidney failure. Kidney failure often occurs following liver failure, especially in cases of acetaminophen overdose, which damages both your liver and your kidneys.
- Polson J, et al. AASLD position paper: The management of acute liver failure. Hepatology. 2005;41:1179.
- Fontana RJ. Acute liver failure. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed May 27, 2011.
- An introduction to liver care. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/downloads/alf_download_29.pdf. Accessed May 27, 2011.