Clinical and Molecular Hepatology



Acute -on- Chronic liver failure – Terminology, Mechanisms and Management
Vinay Kumar BR, Shiv Kumar Sarin
Department of hepatology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi
Corresponding author: Shiv Kumar Sarin ,Tel: 011-46300000, Fax: 011-26123504, Email:
Received: April 16, 2022; Revised: September 7, 2022   Accepted: February 25, 2023.
Acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF) is an acute deterioration of liver function manifesting as jaundice and coagulopathy with the development of ascites, with a high probability of extrahepatic organ involvement and high 28-day mortality. The pathogenesis involves extensive hepatic necrosis, which is associated with severe systemic inflammation and subsequently causes the cytokine storm, leading to portal hypertension, organ dysfunction, and organ failure. These patients have increased gut permeability, releasing lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPS) in the blood, leading to hyper-immune activation and the secretion of cytokines, followed by immune paralysis, causing the development of infections and organ failure in a proportion of patients. Early detection and the institution of treatment, especially in the "Golden Window" period of 7 days, give an opportunity for reversal of the syndrome. Scores like the APASL ACLF research consortium (AARC) score, a model for end stage liver disease (MELD), and the CLIF Consortium acute-on-chronic liver failure (CLIF C-ACLF) score can help in the prediction of mortality. Treatment strategy includes treatment of acute insult. Patients should be considered for early transplant with MELD score >28, AARC score >10, high-grade HE, and in the absence of > 2 organ failure or overt sepsis as there is a high chance of failure of conservative management and high mortality to improve survival of up to 80% at five years after liver transplantation. Patients, with no option of transplant, can be treated with emerging therapies like faecal microbial transplant, plasma exchange, etc., which need further evaluation.

Keywords :Bile acid profile, extracorporeal liver support system, ACLF, Organ failure

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