Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Hepatol. 1995 Oct;23(4):363-72.

Late-onset hepatic failure: clinical features, serology and outcome following transplantation.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Liver Studies King's College Hospital, London, U.K.


A further series of 41 adult patients with late-onset hepatic failure was investigates with respect to aetiological factors, particularly hepatitis C and E, which have been identified since our earlier report of this condition. The increased use of transplantation and its impact on survival overall is assessed. Comparison is made with 64 patients admitted over the same period with fulminant hepatic failure of non-A, non-B aetiology. Screening for the hepatitis viruses revealed three cases of hepatitis A and one case of Epstein Barr virus hepatitis. There were no cases of hepatitis C or hepatitis E virus detected by enzyme immunoassay and reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction techniques, although three patients had positivity for IgG anti-hepatitis E virus, demonstrating previous exposure. Serum autoantibodies in a titre greater than or equal to 1:40 were present in 29% of samples tested and in three cases, titres of SMA or ANF were greater than 1:320. In a further five cases, a potentially hepatotoxic agent had been given within 3 months of the onset of symptoms, leaving the majority of patients (29) with no identifiable cause for their disease. The frequency of symptoms, however, including nausea, abdominal discomfort with the subsequent development of ascites, encephalopathy and renal impairment suggest a similar disease process in these patients. Analysis of liver biopsy material showed similar patterns on all cases of map-like necrosis with nodular regeneration and without other additional features of aetiological significance. Differences in clinical and histological changes for the non-A, non-B fulminant hepatic failure comparison group reflect the tempo of disease process rather than the nature and cause of the liver damage. The introduction of transplantation has led to a marked improvement in survival (39% overall in the earlier series). In the 21 patients in whom transplantation was carried out, the 1-year actuarial survival is currently 55%. Treatment of late-onset hepatic failure with corticosteroids and the use of Prostaglandin E1 and interferon in individual cases has been disappointing, and the emphasis in management should be placed on teh early referral of such patients to a centre offering transplantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk