Acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP) is an obstetric emergency characterized by maternal liver failure and may have complications for the mother and fetus, including death. This review examines recent literature on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Pathogenesis of this disease has been linked to defects in fatty acid metabolism during pregnancy, especially in the setting of fetal genetic defects in fatty acid oxidation. The value of screening all patients for these genetic defects remains to be determined. Distinguishing AFLP from other high-risk liver diseases of pregnancy that have overlap features, such as HELLP and preeclampsia, can be challenging. Although sensitive diagnostic tools such as the Swansea criteria have been developed, further work is needed to diagnose AFLP more quickly. Although survival rates have improved in the past 30 years, delay in diagnosis and treatment of AFLP has life-threatening consequences; an algorithmic approach to AFLP may be a valuable resource for clinicians. Future epidemiological and long-term studies will improve our prediction of women at risk for developing AFLP and determine the long-term consequences of this condition.
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