How To Treat Liver Failure

The liver is the largest organ in the human body and is responsible for filtering blood originating in the digestive tract prior to its transition to other parts of the body. It also protects the body from toxins by metabolizing medication and other substances. Liver failure occurs when the liver becomes so damaged that it is no longer able to metabolize toxins or filter the digestive blood. This failure can be a result of diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis of the liver, malnutrition, an overload of acetaminophen, consumption of poisonous substances, or a reaction to certain medications.

Liver failure can be fatal, which is precisely why prompt and professional medical treatment is crucial Learn about the methods of treating liver failure now.

Medication To Reverse Medication Overload


Liver failure can sometimes be caused by an overload of medication, whether over-the-counter or prescription, as well as by plants and other substances. In these cases, doctors can use medication to reverse the overload effects. Acetylcysteine is a common medication used to treat liver failure resulting from an overload of medication, including over the counter medications such as acetaminophen. The medication used, whether acetylcysteine or another variety, acts as a reversal agent by stopping the effect of the overload on the liver, thus reducing the damage sustained.

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Prevent Severe Bleeding


Chronic liver failure can lead to damage, causing a fair amount of strain on the stomach, esophagus, and other areas of the body. When the pressure becomes too much, it can lead to a complication where these veins burst and cause severe bleeding. Individuals experiencing liver failure may be prescribed certain medications to reduce the risk of blood loss and prevent severe bleeding. For patients already experiencing blood loss, diagnostic tests may be performed to determine where the bleeding is coming from and determine the best course of action to be taken and patients who have lost a lot of blood may be required to undergo a blood transfusion.

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Screening And Treating Infections


Patients dealing with liver failure have a compromised immune system and have an increased risk of contracting a serious illness as a result. Contracting an illness or infection during this compromised state increases the risk the body will not be able to fight the bacteria invading it and if not caught quickly, such illnesses and infections can be fatal. As such, doctors will typically attempt to reduce this risk by screening and treating infections. Patients will periodically provide samples of their blood and urine to be tested for various infections that might possibly cause complications. If an infection is found, it will be promptly treated with the proper medication.

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Relieve Pressure From Excess Fluid


Individuals with acute liver failure often suffer from a secondary illness called cerebral edema. Cerebral edema is swelling in the brain caused by an excess in the fluid surrounding it. If not treated promptly, this swelling can cause brain damage and death. Pressure on the brain can be found through the use of a non-invasive diagnostic testing tool called a transcranial doppler. To relieve pressure from excess fluid, physicians may prescribe medications to reduce the amount of fluid surrounding the brain. Typical treatment for cerebral edema involves the use of diuretics to reduce the production of fluid throughout the body. Hypertonic saline may also be used. Doctors will work with patients to determine the best option for each case.

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Liver Transplant


When liver failure cannot be stopped by other forms of medical intervention, the patient may need to receive a liver transplant as a last resort. A liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which the damaged liver is replaced by a portion of a donor liver. The donated liver may come from a donor who is either living or deceased. When using a living donor only a portion of the liver is used, because when a portion of the liver is removed, the remaining liver regenerates to replace what was removed, leaving the donor with a normal sized liver roughly thirty days after donation, provided no complications occur. Reports indicate as little as twenty-five percent of a liver can regenerate to full size. Individuals who receive a donated liver or liver portion will need to take medications for the remainder of their life to prevent their body from rejecting the new organ.


    HealthPrep Staff