Acute liver failure in children

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


Acute liver failure (ALF) is a relatively rare but often fatal event in children. The frequency of ALF in all age groups in the United States is about 10 to 20,000 per year (about 17 cases per 100,000 population per year), but the frequency in the pediatric age group is unknown. ALF accounts for 10–15% of pediatric liver transplants performed in the United States annually. Even allowing for the probability that many children die without transplant, there may be as few as 50–100 cases per year in the United States. Little is known about pediatric ALF; the rarity of the condition has precluded accumulation of a large experience. Several studies are under way to amass the experience of major transplant centers in an effort to learn more about the condition. Most cases of ALF in children have no identifiable cause, which has prevented a focus on the mechanism by which hepatocytes are killed. The mechanism of ALF remains elusive even if the cause is known. Orthotopic liver transplantation is a substantial advance in the therapy of ALF. Other therapies being studied in clinical trials include liver assist devices and hepatocyte transplantation. Medical therapy generally consists of supportive measures, with a focus on preventing or treating complications and early referral to a transplant center. Outcomes for children vary depending upon the etiology and degree of central nervous system (CNS) involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLiver Disease in Children, Third Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780511547409
ISBN (Print)9780521856577
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Acute liver failure in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this