Acute fatty liver of pregnancy: Abbreviated AFLP, liver failure in late pregnancy, usually of unknown cause. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), frequent thirst (polydipsia), increased urination (polyuria), headache, and altered mental state. Laboratory features of AFLP include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), elevated liver enzymes, and low levels of blood platelets. Untreated AFLP can cause complete liver failure, bleeding due to impaired blood clotting, and death of the mother and fetus. AFLP is treated by delivering the baby as soon as possible, often by inducing early labor. It usually subsides after delivery and does not occur in subsequent pregnancies. In some cases AFLP is associated with an abnormality of fatty-acid metabolism: a deficiency of the enzyme long-chain-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenease (LCHAD). The mother and father have half the normal LCHAD activity, and the fetus has no LCHAD activity. This metabolic disease in the baby's liver causes the fatty liver disease in the mother.
Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016