Liver failure occurs when large parts of the liver become damaged beyond repair and the liver is no longer able to function.
Liver failure is a life-threatening condition that demands urgent medical care. Most often, liver failure occurs gradually and over many years. However, a more rare condition known as acute liver failure occurs rapidly (in as little as 48 hours) and can be difficult to detect initially.
Describing your symptoms and medical history, along with the results of a physical exam, are usually enough to diagnose a case of cirrhosis.
Once the diagnosis has been made, your doctor may order one or more liver function tests, which will use blood samples to identify specific liver diseases and assess the organ's overall health.
It may be helpful to perform a CT scan or ultrasound to further evaluate the extent of liver disease. The doctor may also require a liver biopsy, or tissue sample,...
If detected early enough, acute liver failure caused by an overdose of acetaminophen can sometimes be treated and its effects reversed. Likewise, if a virus causes liver failure, supportive care can be given at a hospital to treat the symptoms until the virus runs its course. In these cases, the liver will sometimes recover on its own.
For liver failure that is the result of long-term deterioration, the initial treatment goal may be to save whatever part of the liver is still functioning. If this is not possible, then a liver transplant is required. Fortunately, liver transplant is a common procedure that is often successful.