Acute Liver Failure Survival Rate

What's the acute liver failure survival rate?

Acute liver failure can be one of the most traumatic and painful emotional experiences that the families and friends of a loved one will have to go through. Learning the acute liver failure survival rate will help understand what your actions should be.

It is also very hard on the sufferer due to the severity of the complications which arise. In many instances, this condition may occur because of an addiction to alcohol, or some other seemingly avoidable reason, and that is why it is all so troublesome.

The acute liver failure survival rate has been getting a little better over the years, but this does not make it any easier if it is someone close to you that is one of those on the other side of this sad statistic.

The liver as a vital organ

As a vital organ, the liver performs many functions in the human body which are necessary for life. Protein synthesis, detoxification of many metabolites, and the creation of digestion biochemicals are a few of these important processes, and when these are affected the only way forward at this current moment is a liver transplant.

Acute liver failure is when severe complications manifest that are indicative of severe damage and loss of liver cells. The outcome is usually based on many factors, but the primary of these is the classification of the condition.

A 1993 study looked at a number of cases which occurred between 1972 and 1985 in order to develop a new way to classify the condition.

Liver damage classifications

If it appears during the first week after the first signs of liver disease then this can be classified as hyperacute. Similarly, if the liver is seen as failing to break down toxins within 8 to 28 days, then this can be classified as basic acute.

Lastly, there is the subacute classification which gives a timeframe of between 4 to 12 weeks. So, those patients who encounter the hyperacute type are the least likely to survive, while the acute condition can have a slightly better outcome, and the subacute a little more still.

However, it is not good to have to be classified under any of these types, and this is all quite devastating no matter what the phase as the pace of the disease is irreversible, and it can only be hoped that the future will bring better methods of controlling and slowing that pace in order to give a better outlook for sufferers.

Possible causes

The second primary factor which has a lot to do with the survival rate is the underlying cause. ALF, the acronym that it is also known by in the medical community, can have a variety of symptoms and signs. Liver failure can lead to patients displaying various levels of confusion, altered levels of consciousness, and in the latter stages a coma.

The cause of ALF can be an accidental or intentional acetaminophen overdose. Some people have been seen to suffer reactions to certain medications such as tetracycline and troglitazone. Excessive alcohol consumption is another common cause, and this can be seen in the late stages of alcoholism which can often bring what has been a devastating trajectory for the friends and relatives of the alcoholic to a sad and dramatic closure.

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are also often linked to acute liver failure, but it seems rare that Hepatitis C will bring about the same complications.

Finally, there is also what is known as the idiopathic type of ALF. This means that there is no known cause for the complications. Patients who have to endure this horrible progression without any known cause can be further affected mentally by the whole mysteriousness of the condition.

It used to be that something like over 80% of patients with this condition eventually died from the complications, but there has been an improvement in treatment as well as some improved prevention which has changed this survival rate. Now there is a liver transplant and other options which keeps the acute liver survival rate at over 65%.

Unfortunately, the science of artificial livers has not reached a level where it is able to be used reliably in the long-term, but in the coming years, these may also help improve this survival rate further.

Acute liver failure survival rate conclusion

The best thing to do is to try and avoid alcohol as much as possible in order to keep this from being a factor in the longevity of a life.

Family and friends should stay close to the loved one who has this condition and provide as much support as possible because as of now it is still a quite traumatic problem to have to cope with.

Last Reviewed:
August 28, 2017
Last Updated:
October 10, 2017
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