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The Number of Survivors of Acute Liver Failure Goes up

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A study points to the improved number of survivors of acute liver failure over the last sixteen years.


Crediting the progress to better tools for diagnosing and treating the condition, researchers explain how the rate of 21-day survival took a leap from 59% in 1998 to 75% in 2013.

The research was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr William Lee is the lead researcher. He works at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas as a liver specialist.

Acute Liver Failure- the Condition

An effect of viruses, drugs, or accidents that cause the liver to deteriorate rapidly and lose over eighty to ninety percent of its functionality is called acute liver failure. While the condition itself is rare, it commonly affects the younger section of the population.

Acute liver failure is often fatal. Its primary causes include drug overdose, using inflammatory drugs, and viruses like Hepatitis A, B, and E.

The human liver handles a lot of work. It detoxifies the blood, helps avoid infection attacks, processes nutrients from food, produces proteins, stores minerals, vitamins, sugars, and fats. Since acute liver failure develops rather quickly, the liver loses its functionality rapidly, allowing less time to diagnose and consider treatments.

Improved Statistics and the Reason Behind

The research suggests that the treatment in intensive care units saw improvement over the last sixteen years. The therapies to treat acute liver failure have also seen advancements. However, the researchers find it difficult to point out a single reason behind the seemingly better survival rates.

While the overall survival has seen improvement, the number of transplant-free survival has also improved. The study also suggests that the number of acute liver failure patients requiring transplant has gone down.

Dr Lee suggests that less use of blood products and better measures for blood pressure and ventilation supports have led to improvement in the state of comatose patients over the years.

He also stresses on taking away the lesson that careful management has the potential to lessen the need for high-level and intensive care procedures by positively impacting the outcomes.

The Research Findings and Conclusion

Dr Lee and his team collected and reviewed medical data of about two thousand patients. All these patients had gone through at least one episode of acute liver failure between the years 1998 and 2013.

The average of all the patients that the study reviewed was 39. The researchers concentrated on the particularity of each case of acute liver failure and the outcomes for each element in the subject group.

The findings suggest that the severity and the causes of acute liver failure did not change much over the years. However, significant improvements were recorded in the survival rates, especially in cases that didn’t involve a liver transplant surgery.

Transplant-free survival of patients with acute liver failure was 33% in 1998. The researchers found out that it had increased to 61% by 2013.

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