The Liver is one of the most vital organs in our body. Because of its huge reservoir of function and a unique ability to regenerate itself it is affected by a lot of diseases. A person at first hardly notices any symptoms of the liver disease until more than 70% of the liver ends up getting damaged.
Acute liver failure is a very rare life-threatening medical condition. This disease is characterized by complete loss of liver functions in a very short span of time, development of jaundice followed by coagulopathy (inability of blood to form clots) and encephalopathy (altered sensorium progressing to unconsciousness and coma). The common causes of Acute Liver Failure in our country include Hepatitis E and B, medications for the treatment of Tuberculosis, massive overdose of pain killer medicines, autoimmune hepatitis, Wilson’s disease and acute fatty liver of pregnancy.
Patients are advised to enrol at state-of-the-art ‘Liver Transplant’ centres for treatment with immediate effect. A battery of test including serial liver function tests, prothrombin time to measure clotting ability of blood, ultrasound and /or CT scan of the abdomen and rarely a liver biopsy is needed for a conclusive diagnosis. As there is no substitute for the function of the liver like dialysis, the treatment consists of supporting the vital functions of the body till the time the liver recovers.
A subset of these patients who continue to deteriorate despite all supportive treatment is usually advised to undergo Liver Transplantation – known as the ‘Kings College Criteria’. The key to a successful transplant is being under the care and support of a multidisciplinary team of Doctors, Physicians and Liver Transplant Surgeons. As well as a well-equipped Intensive care unit with dedicated nurses, physiotherapists and nutritionist.
After spontaneous recovery/liver transplant operation, the patients lead a long and healthy life and that is what brings smile our faces.