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What is the life expectancy after liver failure?

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Quick Answer

Life expectancy and prognosis after liver failure depends on the specific causes that destroy the liver's functionality. Early intervention or a liver transplant can successfully treat chronic liver failure that develops over time, WebMD indicates. A Hepatology study shows rapid, acute liver failure has a high mortality rate.

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Full Answer

The most common causes of chronic liver failure are hepatitis B and C, chronic alcoholism, malnutrition, cirrhosis, and hemochromatosis, or iron overload, according to WebMD. Acute liver failure is caused by Tylenol overdose, eating poisonous mushrooms, reactions to herbs or medications, and certain viruses, including strains of hepatitis.

In cases of progressive liver deterioration, efforts to save the remaining functional parts of the liver are made. If this isn't possible, liver transplants are typically performed, states WebMD. Acute liver failure cases caused by viruses or overdose are also successfully treated with early detection and intervention.

A study on acute liver failure published in Hepatology shows that liver transplant is the only effective treatment, but the use of transplant is limited due to the rapid onset of liver failure. The study shows a 45 percent spontaneous recovery rate, a 25 percent survival rate with liver transplantation, and a 30 percent rate of death with no liver transplant. It also shows higher rates of spontaneous recovery and transplant success with lower mortality rates in children.

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