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Liver Disorders Treatment > Liver Failure Causes, Liver Transplant Treatment

Detailed study of Causes of Liver Failure, Signs & Symptoms of Liver Failure, Liver Failure Treatment methods, Liver Transplant Procedure & Prognosis of Liver failure.

Liver Failure is severe impairment of liver function, occurring either suddenly or at the final stages of chronic liver disease. The liver performs many vital functions, such as the breakdown of toxins in the blood. Severe liver failure allows toxin levels to rise, affecting the brain and other organs. In acute liver failure, the liver may fail suddenly. In chronic liver failure, it may fail progressively over months or years. Acute liver failure may be due to a disorder such as acute viral hepatitis or damage from drugs, such as acetaminophen poisoning (Acute Hepatitis). Chronic liver failure is usually due to an underlying disorder such as alcohol-related liver disease or chronic hepatitis.

Signs & Symptoms of Liver Failure

The symptoms of acute liver failure can develop over several hours or days and are caused by the effect of toxins on the brain. They may include:

  • Poor memory.
  • Confusion and agitation.
  • Drowsiness. 

As acute liver failure progresses, other major organs, including the kidneys and the lungs, may gradually begin to fail. The condition may eventually lead to coma and death. Chronic liver failure can cause no symptoms for months or even years. When symptoms do occur, they usually develop gradually and may include:

  • Yellow coloring of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
  • Itching.
  • Easy bruising and bleeding.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Abnormally shaped fingernails.
  • An excessive number of small, spider-like blood vessels in the skin, known as spider nevi.

In people with liver failure, numerous spiderlike blood vessels known as spider nevi may appear on the skin, particularly in the chest area.


  • Redness of the palms of the hands.
  • Thickened tissue in the palms of the hands (Dupuytrenís Contracture).
  • In men, enlargement of the breasts and shrunken tests.


Bleeding into the digestive tract may occur from enlarged blood vessels that form in the wall of the esophagus (Portal Hypertension and Varices). Chronic live failure may deteriorate suddenly, causing the symptoms of acute liver failure.


Liver Failure Treatment


Acute Liver failure or chronic liver failure that has deteriorated suddenly requires immediate hospital care, often in the critical care unit. Antibiotics may be given to reduce the numbers of intestinal bacteria. These bacteria are an important source of the toxins that accumulate in the blood and adversely affect the brain and other organs. If you have chronic live failure, your doctor will arrange for blood tests to determine the extent of damage to the liver. You may need a diet that is low in protein to reduce the work of the liver. Swelling of the abdomen may be treated with diuretic drugs and by reducing the salt in your diet. You should not drink alcohol. There is no treatment that can repair the damage that has already occurred to the liver.


Liver Transplant Procedure

Liver Transplant procedure involves the transfer of a healthy liver, usually from a recently deceased donor, into the person with liver disease. Sometimes, part of a liver is donated by a living relative. The donor and recipient must have the same blood type. After the transplant, the recipient is monitored in a critical care unit for a few days and remains in the hospital for up to 4 weeks. Transplants are successful in 9 in 10 children and 7 in 10 adults. If the new liver fails, further transplants may be possible. In the procedure of Liver Transplant, the liver, gallbladder and portions of the connected blood and bile vessels are removed. The donor organs and vessels are connected to the recipientís vessels.


Prognosis of Liver failure

Most people who have severe live failure need a liver transplant to survive. Fewer than 1 in 10 people survives acute liver failure without having transplant. In those who do survive, the liver often recovers fully, providing that it was previously undamaged. In chronic liver failure, the prognosis depends to a large extent on the underlying cause. Many people with chronic liver failure lead normal lives for many years.

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