Medical Definition of Liver Failure

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Liver failure: a condition that occurs when the liver is damaged and no longer able to function. Liver failure may be come on suddenly (acute) or develop slowly over time (chronic), depending upon the cause. There are a number of diseases and conditions that can result in liver failure. Examples include hepatitis B and C, hemochromatosis (iron overload), alcohol abuse, medications (for example, acetaminophen poisoning [Tylenol and others], malnutrition, toxins, and any condition that causes scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver. Symptoms of liver failure include

Liver failure may be fatal if not corrected. In some cases, a liver transplant may be required.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

REFERENCE: Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2012.

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