Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 229-233

Natural course of fulminant hepatic failure: The scenario in Bangladesh and the differences from the west

1 Departments of Hepatology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2 Department of Immunology, Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3 Departments of Medicine, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Shahinul Alam
Department of Hepatology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Shahbag, Dhaka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.56094

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Background/Aim: Fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) is a devastating complication of acute viral hepatitis, leading to death in most cases. The etiology and predictors of outcome differ according to the geographical region. This study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the etiology, complications, and outcome of FHF in Bangladesh. Patients and Methods: In this prospective study, we included 67 consecutive cases of FHF presenting to the Department of Hepatology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, between November 2003 and May 2008. Thirty-nine of the patients were male and 28 were female. Data was analyzed using SPSS, version 13.0. Results: The mean age of the subjects was 31.9 ± 11 .7 years. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) was the commonest etiological factor for FHF (50 cases, 74.6%); of the 50 cases with HEV infection, 43 (64.2%) were not coinfected with any other virus, four cases were Hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers, and three had coinfection with hepatitis A virus (HAV). HBV was the cause of FHF in nine (13.4%) patients. HCV, paracetamol, and alcohol were not responsible for any of the cases. Most of the patients (57 patients, 85%) developed FHF within 2 weeks of the onset of jaundice. Of the 67 patients, 49 (73.1%) died. Cerebral edema was the single most common cause of death (48 patients, 71.6%). Other complications were renal failure (23 patients, 34.3%), sepsis (15 patients, 22.4%), electrolyte imbalance (12 patients 17.9%), and bleeding tendency (7 patients, 10.4%). Occurrence of cerebral edema, longer prothrombin time, higher grade of encephalopathy, and longer jaundice-to-encephalopathy interval had significant negative influence on outcome. Conclusions: The etiology of FHF in Bangladesh is different from that in the West. Prolongation of prothrombin time and occurrence of cerebral edema are predictors of the worst prognosis.

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