Neonatal acute liver failure (NALF) is a rare disease about which there is little published data; however, NALF is an extremely important condition as it is distinct from acute liver failure seen in older children and adults. First, unlike acute liver failure in older patients, NALF can be diagnosed in an infant with cirrhosis. This is due to the fetal-neonatal continuum of liver disease, or the principle that neonatal liver failure may be the result of a liver disease that began in utero. Further differences exist in the mechanism of disease, diagnostic principles, and the common etiologies of NALF when compared with pediatric and adult acute liver failure. This review will address many of the distinguishing features of NALF and focus on the most common etiologies of NALF, including gestational alloimmune liver disease (GALD), the most common cause of NALF. Additionally, this review will provide insight into the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of this rare condition.
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