Hepatic Failure

  • Mario Rueda
  • Pamela A. Lipsett


The progression of liver disease can cause several physiologic derangements that may precipitate hepatic failure and require admission to an intensive care unit. The underlying pathology may be acute, acute-on chronic, or chronic in nature. Liver failure may manifest with a variety of clinical signs and symptoms that need prompt attention. The compromised synthetic and metabolic activity of the failing liver affects all organ systems, from neurologic to integumentary. Supportive care and specific therapies should be instituted in order to improve outcome and minimize time of recovery.

In this chapter we will discuss the definition, clinical manifestations, workup, and management of acute and chronic liver failure and the general principles of treatment of these patients. Management of liver failure secondary to certain common etiologies will also be presented. Finally, liver transplantation and alternative therapies will also be discussed.


Acute liver failure Chronic liver failure Hepatopulmonary syndrome Hepatic encephalopathy Acetaminophen toxicity Amatoxin intoxication Wilson’s disease Viral hepatitis Ischemic hepatitis Ascites Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis Variceal bleed Hepatorenal syndrome Liver transplantation 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryJohns Hopkins HospitalBaltimoreUSA

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