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Abstract  Etiopathogenesis of acute hepatic failure (AHF) in Eastern and Western countries is distinct. In the East hepatitis viruses cause AHF in more than 95% of such cases, while causes of AHF in the West are quite heterogenous. Hepatitis E virus is the major etiological agent of AHF in countries like India where the virus is hyperendemic. Occult HBV infection may also be causing AHF in a sizable proportion of cases in areas where chronic HBV infection frequency is high. Paracetamol causes AHF in about 70% cases in the UK and about 20% cases in USA, whereas in France and Denmark, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more frequently associated with AHF. Hepatitis B virus causes AHF in about one-third of cases in the latter two countries.

© 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd