Fulminant Hepatitis

Overview

People who have fulminant hepatitis typically develop the symptoms seen in viral hepatitis. Then they rapidly develop severe, often life-threatening liver failure. This can happen within hours, days, or sometimes weeks.

Symptoms

When people with fulminant hepatitis develop severe liver failure, symptoms may include:

  • Confusion.
  • Extreme irritability.
  • Altered consciousness. (This usually leads to unconsciousness or coma.)
  • Blood-clotting defects.
  • Buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, arms, and legs.

Treatment

No medicine can reverse fulminant hepatitis. People who have it need to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit. While there, they can be cared for until their condition becomes more stable. For some people, a liver transplant is the only lifesaving option. People younger than age 40 who have fulminant hepatitis are more likely to recover than older adults or people who have chronic liver disease.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
W. Thomas London MD - Hepatology

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