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Keywords:

  • encephalopathy;
  • fulminant hepatic failure;
  • hepatic necrosis;
  • liver volume;
  • prognostic factors

Summary. Acute liver failure (ALF) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Before the availability of liver transplantation only 20% of patients with ALF survived. The clinical dilemma relates to the prognostication of these patients, as early liver transplantation has been associated with better outcomes. The eligibility for liver transplantation must therefore be quickly established. The patient's age, aetiology of disease, interval between the onset of jaundice and encephalopathy, blood pH, prothrombin time, serum bilirubin and serum creatinine levels has been identified as useful prognostic markers. The degree of hepatocyte necrosis on liver biopsy and estimated hepatic volume by computed tomography may also be valuable predictors of survival; however, further studies are needed.