Liver failure

Jul 10, 2012 , Zuzana Boučková

selhani-jater.jpg - kopie
selhani-jater.jpg - kopie
Liver failure is a life-threating condition that develops from various causes. Most often comes to liver failure after viral ifectious disease or after prolonged use of alcohol. Even a small part of the liver is able to manage all neccessary processes so the symptoms of liver failure can occur after a long period of time. The most effective treatment of liver failure is transplantation.

Liver failure

Proper working of the liver is essential for smooth functioning of our body. The liver is largest gland of body and key metabolic processes take place in it. These include processing of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, further storage of reserve substances such as glycogen, removing compounds hazardous to body, and creation of important hormones and blood components. The liver is located in the abdomen on the right side below diaphragm, in healthy individuals is almost whole liver protected by ribs. The liver has a reddish brown color what is caused by a large amount of blood that flows through the liver. Its surface is smooth and glossy.

Development of liver failure

Liver failure is condition in which is this organ no longer able to perform its functions. This usually occurs due to impairment of liver tissue by harmful substances, in most cases by alcohol or with infectious disease. Even a relatively small part of the liver is able to manage itself all necessary processes, and therefore its insufficiency takes effect at a higher level of impairment. Liver failure can develop suddenly, thus acutely or it may be formed for longer time and then is it called a chronic failure. Symptoms of chronic liver failure occur in more than 6 months. The cause of liver failure is usually acute inflammation of viral origin, so-called hepatitis, or impairment of the liver caused by toxic substance, such as drug poisoning. The main cause of chronic liver failure is liver cirrhosis.

Manifestations of liver failure

Liver failure leads to disruption of the internal balance of organism, disruption of metabolism, blood clotting disorders and other disease states. For the diagnosis of acute renal failure is critical presence of blood clotting disorder and impairment of brain functionality, called encephalopathy resulting in patients without cirrhosis. The incidence of encephalopathy is also an indicator of decline in liver functionality below a critical threshold. Crucial indicator of the presence of acute liver failure is mainly altered consciousness. But manifestations of liver damage before the development of failure itself do not point unequivocally to the possible development of this condition. Affected individual feels weak and abdominal pain, nausea and jaundice can occur. As mentioned above, chronic renal failure occurs slower but its consequences are same in the end. The most serious complication of liver failure include brain swelling, significantly increased susceptibility to infections, bleeding, kidney failure, lung and heart failure, and more.

Consequences of liver failure

The consequences of liver failure results from functions of this organ. The liver is place where takes place metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Therefore, when liver failure occurs can hypoglycemia develop, i.e., decrease of blood sugar level below a certain threshold. This manifests as weakness mainly in the morning. Another consequence of liver failure is limited production of bile, thereby is the level of cholesterol in the blood increased. In the event of disruption in detoxification functions of the liver is toxic ammonia accumulated in the blood which has serious consequences especially on the brain. Liver failure also cause insufficient production of clotting factors which can lead to bleeding. The liver also lose its ability to recapture some substances from the blood, e.g. bilirubin, what results in jaundice. Or it may be insufficient uptake of androgen hormones. These hormones are then converted into estrogens, female sex hormones that cause interferences in women menstrual cycle and in men can come to enlargement of the mammary glands or potency disorders. Due to liver failure often arises so-called portal hypertension, an increase in blood pressure in portal vein. Thanks to this, in portal vein develops hemostasis and short-circuits are formed through which can blood bypass the liver. This manifests in impaired digestion and absorption, increased ulcers formation in the mucosa of digestive organs and blood congestion in the spleen, followed by anemia.

Diagnosis and treatment of liver failure

From diagnostic methods are the most important laboratory tests. We monitor in blood levels of bilirubin, bile pigment, and albumin, thus the main protein of blood that are essential to assess the patient's condition. Out of imaging methods is used mainly ultrasound, CT and magnetic resonance imaging. For evaluation of the brain functions is used so-called EEG which on the surface of head scans electric signals created by brain. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms of affected vital organs. The most significant contribution has a liver transplant which significantly increases the chance of survival of an individual. The chance of successful cure depends on achieved grade of encephalopathy. If is the achieved level high chances of long-term survival is even now very low. Undoubtedly, liver failure is a very serious condition so it is important to try to avoid it as soon as possible.

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