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J Hepatol. 1988 Oct;7(2):143-50.

Transplantation of the liver in adults and children with fulminant hepatic failure.

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Liver Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham, U.K.


Fulminant hepatic failure has a high mortality rate despite intensive medical treatment. Urgent hepatic transplantation was considered over a 3 year period in 26 (36%) of 73 patients with the worst prognostic features of fulminant hepatic failure. The criteria for patient selection were based on the duration of advanced hepatic coma and the deterioration of liver function. Sixteen patients were transplanted, and 9 (56%) are currently alive. The median duration of follow-up is 16 months and actuarial 1 year survival 55%. Six patients died because of the absence of offers of organ donation. Twenty-two (85%) of the 26 patients considered were referred with advanced encephalopathy or hepatorenal syndrome. Of the 57 patients not transplanted, 18 (95%) of 19 patients with grade I/II encephalopathy survived compared to 13 (34%) of 38 patients with grade III/IV encephalopathy. Transplantation does improve the chance of survival in selected patients with fulminant hepatic failure, early referral and availability or organ donation being important factors.

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