Acute liver failure
Acute liver failure (ALF) is a rapid decrease in liver function. ALF can cause edema in the brain, encephalopathy, abnormal bleeding, and multiple organ failure that is often fatal. The most common cause of ALF in the U.S. is drug-related liver toxicity, such as may be seen with an acetaminophen overdose, with a variety of prescription, illicit, and herbal drugs, or with the ingestion of poisonous mushrooms or organic solvents. ALF is also sometimes seen with viral or autoimmune hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, fatty liver that occurs during pregnancy, Wilson disease, and with the rapid worsening of other liver diseases.
- PT and INR (prothrombin time and international normalized ratio)
- Acetaminophen level and/or other Emergency and Overdose Drug Testing
- Hepatitis A, B, C
- Other tests to help diagnose underlying cause(s) and identify complications
- Liver biopsy
- CT (computed tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
For more information on these imaging procedures, see RadiologyInfo.org.