What are the symptoms of liver failure?

Early symptoms of liver failure are often not specific and may be confused with symptoms of many other conditions, such as indigestion, viral gastroenteritis, or chronic fatigue syndrome. Early symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Edema (swelling) in the legs

  • Fatigue

  • Malaise or generally feeling ill

  • Poor appetite

  • Weakness

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Symptoms of advanced liver failure can indicate the development of serious complications, such as portal hypertension or esophageal varices. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms:

  • Ascites (buildup of fluid and swelling in the abdomen)

  • Bleeding, such as vomiting blood or severe rectal bleeding

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness

  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

  • Muscle tremors or shakiness

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
INTRODUCTION

What is liver failure?

Liver failure is a life-threatening condition in which there is a severe deterioration of liver function. The liver is a vital organ located in the right upper area of your abdomen under the ribs. Liver failure is caused by liver damage, which makes it difficult or impossible for the liver to function normally in processes that are critical to life and your overall health including:

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CAUSES

What causes liver failure?

Liver failure is due to underlying liver diseases that often cause progressive damage to the liver. Liver disease generally begins with inflammation and enlargement of the liver, which may be reversed with medical treatment in some cases. Left untreated, liver inflammation leads to fibrosis (scarring) of the liver tissue that progresses and ultimately replaces healthy liver tissue. Scarred live... Read more about liver failurecauses

TREATMENTS

How is liver failure treated?

Scar tissue formed in the liver due to advanced liver disease, which causes liver failure, is permanent. The goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression of damage to the liver and minimize and quickly treat any other complications and coexisting conditions, such as portal hypertension and hemorrhage. Treatment plans include a multifaceted and individualized approach that varies dependi... Read more about liver failuretreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 5, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System


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