What Is Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy?

  • Jessica Palmer
  • Joelle Borhart


Acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP) is a rare complication associated with high morbidity and mortality for both the mother and the fetus. AFLP typically occurs in the third trimester, between 30 and 38 weeks gestation. The etiology remains largely unknown but may be linked to long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (LCHAD) defects in both the mother and fetus, leading to buildup of toxic metabolites. Symptoms range from non-specific complaints such as anorexia, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting to symptoms of fulminant liver failure. Emergency department management is resuscitative, with definitive treatment being delivery of the fetus.


Acute fatty liver of pregnancy Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase Liver failure Third trimester 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Palmer
    • 1
  • Joelle Borhart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineMedStar Washington Hospital Center & MedStar Georgetown University HospitalWashington, DCUSA

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