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Acute liver failure in under two year-olds - are there markers of metabolic disease on admission?

Ana Brett, Carla Pinto, Leonor Carvalho, Paula Garcia, Luísa Diogo, Isabel Gonçalves


Introduction. The early establishment of an etiology for acute liver failure (ALF) in infants is essential for the start of adequate treatment in the shortest timeframe possible. Aim. To identify markers of inherited metabolic disease on admission in children under two years of age with ALF. Material and methods. A retrospective review of the medical records of all children (< 2 years old) with ALF admitted to the pediatric hepatology or intensive care units of a tertiary center over a twenty-three year period (January 1989 to December 2011) was done. Patients were divided into two groups: with (group A) or without (group B) a metabolic etiology. Clinical and laboratory parameters on admission were compared. Results. Twenty-three children met inclusion criteria. Twelve had ALF of metabolic origin (group A). The median age in this group was 2.25 (Q1-Q3: 0.63-4.65) months and in group B 8.0 (Q1-Q3: 1.5-15) months. History of failure to thrive and/or vomiting was more frequent in group A (p = 0.022). Age, gender, encephalopathy and left ventricular hypertrophy were similar in both groups (p = 0.147, p = 1.000, p = 0.637, p = 1.000, respectively). Laboratory tests on admission (plasma lactate, ammonia, cholesterol, phosphate, INR, glucose, bilirubin, ALT, base excess and the presence of reducing substances in urine) showed no statistically significant differences between groups. Conclusion. This study showed that although infants with inborn errors of metabolism showed a trend towards lower age at presentation, the only marker.

Key words. Liver disease, Pediatric, Inborn errors of metabolism, Failure to thrive

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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