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J Pediatr. 2009 Dec;155(6):801-806.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Jul 29.

Pattern of diagnostic evaluation for the causes of pediatric acute liver failure: an opportunity for quality improvement.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and the Pediatric Liver Center, The Children's Hospital, Aurora, CO, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the frequency of diagnostic testing for the 4 most common causes of pediatric acute liver failure (PALF) (drugs, metabolic disease, autoimmune process, and infections) in indeterminate PALF within the PALF Study Group Database.

STUDY DESIGN:

PALF was defined by severe hepatic dysfunction within 8 weeks of onset of illness, with no known underlying chronic liver disease in patients from birth through 17 years of age.

RESULTS:

Of the 703 patients in the database, 329 (47%) had indeterminate PALF. In this group, a drug history was obtained in 325 (99%) urine toxicology screenings performed in 118 (36%) and acetaminophen level measured in 124 (38%) patients. No testing for common metabolic diseases was done in 179 (54%) patients. Anti-nuclear antibody, anti-smooth muscle antibody, and anti-liver kidney microsomal autoantibodies associated with autoimmunity were determined in 239 (73%), 233 (71%), and 208 (63%) patients, and no tests were obtained in 70 (21%). Testing was performed for hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and Epstein Barr virus in 80%, 86%, and 68%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Current practice indicates that investigation for metabolic and autoimmune causes of PALF are infrequent in patients ultimately given a diagnosis of indeterminate acute liver failure. This offers an opportunity to improve diagnosis and potential treatment options in children with acute liver failure.

Comment in

PMID:
19643443
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4035352
Free PMC Article
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