Papers And Originals

Frequency and Type of Renal and Electrolyte Disorders in Fulminant Hepatic Failure

Br Med J 1974; 1 doi: (Published 02 February 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;1:186
  1. S. P. Wilkinson,
  2. L. M. Blendis,
  3. Roger Williams


    Of 48 patients with fulminant hepatic failure who progressed to grade III or IV encephalopathy 38 showed evidence of renal impairment. In 32 of these patients the underlying cause could be placed initially into one of three categories—prerenal uraemia (4 patients), acute tubular necrosis (16), and “functional renal failure” (12). The latter differed in several respects from that seen with liver failure secondary to cirrhosis. The frequency and type of renal impairment was the same in those patients in whom the fulminant hepatic failure had resulted from an overdose of paracetamol as in the other aetiological groups.

    Abnormalities in plasma electrolytes were common—in particular hypernatraemia occurred in 11 patients from an osmotic diuresis precipitated by hypertonic dextrose or fructose given intravenously, and from the sodium in the fresh frozen plasma used to correct the coagulation disturbance when renal excretion of this ion was inappropriately low.