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Acute-on-chronic liver failure 2018: a need for (urgent) liver biopsy?

TitleAcute-on-chronic liver failure 2018: a need for (urgent) liver biopsy?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
Authorsvan Leeuwen, D. J., Alves V., Balabaud C., Bhathal P. S., Bioulac-Sage P., Colombari R., Crawford J. M., Dhillon A. P., Ferrell L., Gill R. M., Guido M., Hytiroglou P., Nakanuma Y., Paradis V., Rautou P. Emmanuel, Sempoux C., Snover D. C., Theise N. D., Thung S. N., Tsui W. M. S., Quaglia A., & Group T. Internatio
JournalExpert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol
Date Published2018 Jun
KeywordsAcute-On-Chronic Liver Failure, Biopsy, Diagnosis, Differential, Early Diagnosis, Humans, Liver, Liver Transplantation, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, Risk Factors

INTRODUCTION: 'Acute-on-Chronic-Liver Failure (ACLF)' entered hepatology practice by the end of the 20th century. Although we lack precise and universally agreed definitions, acute decompensation of chronic liver disease with jaundice and deranged clotting, multi-organ failure and high, short-term mortality are hallmarks of the syndrome. Timely recognition and and treatment, including urgent liver transplantation, may save the life of certain patients. The diagnosis and management are mostly based on clinical features, but some have suggested to incorporate histopathology (liver biopsy). This may add to the differentiation between acute and chronic disease, primary and concomitant etiologies, and identify prognostic determinants. Areas covered: A review of the literature on ACLF and the outcome of the discussions at a topical international meeting on specific histopathological aspects of diagnosis and prognosis of the syndrome. Expert commentary: There is a lack of standardized descriptions of histopathological features and there is limited prospective experience with the role of pathology of ACLF. It is important for the clinical hepatologist to understand the potential and limitations of (transjugular) liver biopsy in ACLF and for the pathologist to help address the clinical question and recognise the histopathological features that help to characterize ACLF, both in terms of diagnosis and prognosis.

Alternate JournalExpert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol
PubMed ID29806950


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