University of Pennsylvania, Department of Emergency Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Georgetown University Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia.
Acute liver failure is defined as severe acute liver injury, concurrent with encephalopathy and loss of hepatic synthetic function, in a patient without known pre-existing liver disease. Evaluation of acute liver failure in the emergency department should focus on identification of treatable causes. Acute liver failure from acute hepatitis B infection is a rare but potentially lethal occurrence. Multi-organ dysfunction from acute liver failure may be exacerbated by metabolic and inflammatory reactions associated with acute pancreatitis, which accompanies approximately 5% of cases of acute viral hepatitis. Transplant-free survival rate with liver failure from acute hepatitis B is unfortunately less than 20%.