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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Natural history and risk factors in fulminant hepatic failure.

BACKGROUND: The natural history of fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) without liver transplantation is not well known. AIMS: To study the natural history and prognostic factors, especially the presence of ascites and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), in children with FHF. METHODS: FHF was defined by the onset of encephalopathy within 12 weeks of onset of jaundice. From August 1997 to December 2000, 67 children (< or =12 years) were diagnosed with FHF. Their clinical features, investigations and outcome were noted. Viral markers A to E (IgM, anti-HAV; IgM, anti-HEV, HBsAg, and anti-HCV) were determined by ELISA. SBP was defined by the presence of > or =250 neutrophils with or without a positive culture in ascitic fluid. RESULTS: Mean age of the children was 5.8 years with an almost equal sex distribution. Viral markers were positive in 63 (94%) cases: hepatitis A in 34 (54%), E in 17 (27%), A+E in seven (11%), and B in five (8%). Thirty one children presented with grade I or II encephalopathy and all recovered, whereas 17 of 36 children who had grade III or IV encephalopathy died. Ascites was detected (both clinically and ultrasonically) in 34 (51%) cases, nine (26%) of which had SBP. Overall mortality was 25%. Mortality was higher in those who had ascites than in those who did not (32% v 18%); among those with ascites it was maximum in those who had SBP (78% v 16%). Total serum bilirubin and grade of encephalopathy were significantly higher, serum albumin was significantly lower, and prothrombin time was significantly prolonged in those who died than in those who recovered. CONCLUSION: The natural history of FHF in Indian children depends on age, grade of encephalopathy, ascites, and SBP. SBP depicts worse outcome. In all cases of FHF with ascites, the presence of SBP should be investigated.[1]


  1. Natural history and risk factors in fulminant hepatic failure. Poddar, U., Thapa, B.R., Prasad, A., Sharma, A.K., Singh, K. Arch. Dis. Child. (2002) [Pubmed]
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