Published online Nov 7, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i41.7069
Revised: August 5, 2013
Accepted: September 13, 2013
Published online: November 7, 2013
Core tip: Acute liver failure (ALF) is a dramatic clinical syndrome of abrupt loss of liver function in a patient with a previously healthy liver. The causes of ALF encompass a wide variety of toxic, viral, metabolic, vascular and autoimmune insults to the liver. ALF patients develop serious complications, and death is mostly due to sepsis, followed by multiple organ failure, and intracranial hypertension. However, disease outcome has been improved through etiological treatment and advanced intensive care management. For most severely affected patients who fail to recover after treatment, liver transplantation may be life-saving.