Korean J Hepatol > Volume 12(1); 2006 > Article
The Korean Journal of Hepatology 2006;12(1): 82-92.
Clinical Features of Fulminant Hepatic Failure in a Tertiary Hospital with a Liver Transplant Center in Korea
Nae Yun Heo , Young Suk Lim , Jeong Min Kang , Se Il Oh , Chan Sun Park , Seok Won Jung , Yoon Sun Lee , Kang Mo Kim , Han Chu Lee , Young Hwa Chung , Yung Sang Lee ,
Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Background/Aims: Striking geographic differences have been noted in the etiology of fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). The prognosis of patients with FHF who do not receive liver transplantation in a timely manner is quite dismal. This study intended to identify the etiology and outcome of FHF in Korean adults and to examine the role of urgent living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) for treating this unique situation. Methods: We identified all the adult FHF patients who were referred to our unit between 1999 and 2004. FHF was defined as severe acute hepatitis complicated by the rapid development of hepatic encephalopathy within 8 weeks of the initial symptoms in the patients without a previous history of liver disease. Results: One hundred fourteen patients (47 males and 67 females) were identified. The mean age was 39.5±15.3 years. Drugs were the most common cause (28.1%) of FHF (herbal medications, 9.6%), and acute viral infection accounted for 23.7% (HBV accounted for 15.8%). Indeterminate etiologies were noted in 34%. The 90-day survival rate of the nontransplant group was only 15%. Fourteen patients received liver transplants (13 right- lobe LDLT, 1 cadaveric whole liver), and 12 of these (85.7%) survived and showed good graft function during 22 months of median follow-up. Conclusions: Although the causes of FHF in Korea were diverse, HBV infection and herbal medications were responsible for a significant proportion of the cases. Since urgent LDLT improved the overall survival rate of patients with FHF, this should be considered as an important treatment option for patients suffering with FHF. (Korean J Hepatol 2006;12:82-92)
KeyWords: Liver failure, acute; Etiology; Liver transplantation; Outcomes assessment

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