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Infantile acute liver failure in the West of Scotland
  1. David Wands1,
  2. Rachel Tayler1,
  3. Deirdre Kelly2,
  4. Fernando Pinto3,
  5. Judith Helen Simpson4,
  6. Richard Hansen1
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Liver Unit, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Haematology, Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rachel Tayler, Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK; rachel.tayler{at}


Background Our current understanding regarding the aetiology of infantile acute liver failure largely derives from studies conducted by regional liver units. This may introduce selection bias and therefore not provide a true reflection of the wider population.

Methods Every coagulation screen with a prothrombin time ≥18 s in our centre was examined over one calendar year. All patients less than 1 year of age were included and their electronic records retrospectively reviewed.

Results 24 patients were identified, from 9989 coagulation screens, that fit the current definition of acute liver failure. Hypoxic birth injury and ischaemic events were the most common aetiologies. Survival was 75%.

Conclusion The ‘catch-all’ methodology employed demonstrated that acute liver failure is more common than previously reported and suggests that current data may exclude large numbers who either have more minor self-resolving disease or conversely have severe disease leading to death prior to transfer.

  • paediatric
  • gastroenterology
  • hepatology
  • acute liver failure
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  • RT and RH are joint senior authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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