Acute Liver Failure: Symptoms and Causes

October 16, 2019

Acute Liver Failure: Symptoms and Causes
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Acute Liver Failure Causes

There are very few causes of liver failure—toxins, sepsis, ischemia or viruses. Among the toxins, it is usually paracetamol.

Definition of Liver Failure

There are three types of acute hepatic failure, divided into time-oriented niches:

0-7 Days

Hyperacute Hepatic Failure:

Those diagnosed with this usually collapse suddenly and spring back equally quickly. Such patients also suffer from brain disease and impairment of the blood’s capacity to coagulate. They also suffer from enhanced intracranial pressure. Generally, this condition is caused due to Hepatitis A or B and paracetamol.

8-28 Days

Acute Hepatic Failure:

Patients with this symptom generally collapse over the span of a week. The causes of this condition are Hepatitis viruses and idiosyncratic drug reactions.

29 Days – 8 Weeks

Sub-acute Hepatic Failure:

Sub-acute Hepatic Failure is experienced gradually and presents a low possibility of full recovery.

Acute Liver Failure Causes

There are very few causes of liver failure—toxins, sepsis, ischemia or viruses. Among the toxins, it is usually paracetamol.

When the liver cells are damaged to a great extent and cannot function normally, acute liver failure sets in. Its other causes include:

  • Overdose of Acetaminophen overdose
  • Prescription medications such as antibiotics, NSAIDS, anticonvulsants, non-steroidal Overdose of Acetaminophen
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and E; the Epstein-Barr virus; herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus
  • Cirrhosis
  • Reactions to some medication and herbal preparations
  • Eating wild and poisonous mushrooms
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Acute fatty liver during pregnancy
  • Septic shock
  • Budd Chiari syndrome
  • Industrial toxins

Acute Liver Failure Symptoms

The initial symptoms of liver failure resemble those of other liver diseases. This makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose it correctly. Its early symptoms include:

  • Hepatitis A, B, and C that affects the liver
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

As liver damage increases, its symptoms become more chronic and demand immediate medical attention. The chronic condition shows up these symptoms

  • Swollen stomach
  • Jaundice
  • Bleeding easily
  • Mental confusion
  • Sleepiness


Acute liver failure is diagnosed by taking blood tests to know how long the blood takes to clot. A CT scan and a transjugular liver biopsy are also done.


Acute liver failure is treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit where a liver transplant is performed. The various treatment options for this condition are:

  • Medications that reverse acetaminophen overdose such as acetylcysteine are given.
  • Liver transplant
  • Cerebral oedema can increase brain pressure which can be relieved by certain medication.
  • Blood and urine samples to test for infection


Why Rela Hospital?


Acute liver failure isn’t an ordinary condition. As a patient, you need to take your condition seriously. This means taking good care of yourself after the treatment. At Rela Hospital, we realize the gravity of your condition and advise you as best as we can on management methods, lifestyle tips, diet and exercise.

But before this, while you’re at Rela Hospital, our team of liver specialists work to cure you of your ailment. Though we have the best acute liver failure specialists in Chennai, India, it still means spending a lot of time with you to get across the severity of your condition and the need for genuine self-help. Your cooperation and willingness to improve will go a long way in being treated.

Our support staff too is as adept at offering their services and help as is our founder, Prof. Rela. A renowned liver specialist of international repute, he is always available to offer guidance and support.

Apart from this, the surgery itself is done by experienced minds and hands. They have a background rich with experience in the West where they had worked at reputed hospitals. No wonder, they now work at Rela Hospital, enriching it to be called one of the best acute liver failure hospitals in India.

Our patient success rate has been climbing in the recent past, due largely to our medical and nursing abilities. Those who leave our hospital having experienced our care, prefer to call us the best acute liver failure hospital in Chennai, India. To all of you, a big thank you.

To know more about us and the way we function, call us on +91 9384681770 for an appointment.

Liver Doctor | Liver Hosital in India

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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Prof. Mohamed Rela

Prof. Mohamed Rela


Chairman and Managing Director, Rela Hospital

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