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Surg Clin North Am. 1999 Feb;79(1):77-108.

Fulminant hepatic failure.

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Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Fulminant hepatic failure is a disease of varied causes and a high mortality rate. A sudden onset, jaundice, hepatic encephalopathy, and multiorgan failure are the hallmarks of this syndrome. The management of patients with FHF requires a multidisciplinary approach and intense monitoring. The availability of liver transplantation has provided the means to rescue such patients from near-certain death. Early prognostication and timely availability of donor livers are requirements for a successful outcome. The development of effective artificial liver support devices may greatly prolong the window of opportunity to provide a donor liver, or alternatively, to allow the native liver to regenerate.

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