Preparing for your appointment

If your doctor suspects you have acute liver failure, you'll likely be admitted to a hospital for treatment. Most people with acute liver failure are treated in an intensive care unit.

What you can do

If you have been diagnosed with acute liver failure, here are some questions to ask the doctor:

  • What caused my acute liver failure?
  • Can it be reversed?
  • If it can be reversed, will my liver completely heal?
  • What are the treatments?
  • Will I need a liver transplant?
  • Does this hospital have a liver transplant unit?
  • Should I transfer to a hospital that performs liver transplants?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will ask you or your family questions to try to determine the cause of your acute liver failure. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did symptoms begin?
  • What prescription medications do you take?
  • What over-the-counter medications do you take?
  • What herbal supplements do you take?
  • Do you use illegal drugs?
  • Have you had liver problems before?
  • Have you been diagnosed with hepatitis or jaundice?
  • Do you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts?
  • How much alcohol do you drink?
  • Have you recently started taking new medications?
  • Do you take acetaminophen? How much?
  • Do liver problems run in your family?
Aug. 29, 2017
References
  1. Goldberg E, et al. Acute liver failure in adults: Etiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 7, 2017.
  2. Goldberg E, et al. Acute liver failure in adults: Management and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 7, 2017.
  3. Liver wellness. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/education/downloads/. Accessed March 7, 2017.
  4. Ferri FF. Acute liver failure. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 7, 2017.
  5. Bernal W, et al. Acute liver failure. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369:2525.
  6. Bernsten A, et al., eds. Liver Failure. In: Oh's Intensive Care Manual, 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 26, 2017.
  7. Flamm SL, et al. American Gastroenterological Association Institute Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Acute Liver Failure. Gastroenterology. 2017;152:644.
  8. Roy-Chowdhury N, et al. Hepatocyte transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 24, 2017.
  9. Cooper DK, et al. Pig liver xenotransplantation: A review of progress toward the clinic. Transplantation. 2016;100:2039.
  10. Karvellas CJ, et al. Current evidence for extracorporeal liver support systems in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic liver failure. Critical Care Clinics. 2016;32:439.
  11. Yin M, et al. Distinguishing between hepatic inflammation and fibrosis with MR elastography. Radiology. In press. Accessed March 24, 2017.
  12. Carbon tetrachloride. Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/foia/carbon-tetrachlorideox-frequently-asked-question Accessed April 17, 2017.
  13. Picco M (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2017.
  14. Rajan E (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2017.