- Acute fatty liver of pregnancy
Name = PAGENAME
DiseasesDB = 32879
ICD10 = ICD10|O|26|6|o|20
ICD9 = ICD9|646.7
ICDO = | OMIM = 609016
OMIM_mult = OMIM2|600890
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is a rare life-threatening complication of
pregnancythat occurs in the third trimester or the immediate period after delivery.cite journal |author=Ko H, Yoshida EM |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Can. J. Gastroenterol. |volume=20 |issue=1 |pages=25–30 |year=2006 |pmid=16432556 |doi= |url=] It is thought to be caused by a disordered metabolism of fatty acids by mitochondriain the mother, caused by deficiency in the LCHAD (long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase) enzyme.cite journal |author=Bellig LL |title=Maternal acute fatty liver of pregnancy and the associated risk for long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme a dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiency in infants |journal=Adv Neonatal Care |volume=4 |issue=1 |pages=26–32 |year=2004 |pmid=14988877 |doi= |url=] The condition was previously thought to be universally fatal cite journal |author=Mjahed K, Charra B, Hamoudi D, Noun M, Barrou L |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Arch. Gynecol. Obstet. |volume=274 |issue=6 |pages=349–53 |year=2006 |pmid=16868757 |doi=10.1007/s00404-006-0203-6 |url=] , but aggressive treatment by stabilizing the mother with intravenousfluids and bloodproducts in anticipation of early delivery, has improved prognosis.cite journal |author=Riely CA |title=Liver disease in the pregnant patient. American College of Gastroenterology |journal=Am. J. Gastroenterol. |volume=94 |issue=7 |pages=1728–32 |year=1999 |pmid=10406228 |doi= |url=]
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy (or hepatic lipidosis of pregnancy) usually manifests in the third trimester of pregnancy, but may occur any time in the second half of pregnancy, or in the
puerperium, the period immediately after delivery. On average, the disease presents during the 35th or 36th week of pregnancy.cite journal |author=Riely CA |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Semin. Liver Dis. |volume=7 |issue=1 |pages=47–54 |year=1987 |pmid=3296215 |doi= |url=] . The usual symptoms in the mother are non-specific including nausea, vomiting, anorexia (or lack of desire to eat) and abdominal pain ; however, jaundiceand fevermay occur in as many as 70% of patients. [cite journal |author=Riely CA, Latham PS, Romero R, Duffy TP |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy. A reassessment based on observations in nine patients |journal=Ann. Intern. Med. |volume=106 |issue=5 |pages=703–6 |year=1987 |pmid=3565968 |doi= |url=]
In more patients with more severe disease,
pre-eclampsiamay occur, which involves elevation of blood pressure and accumulation of fluid (termed edema). This may progress to involvement of additional systems, including acute renal failure, [cite journal |author=Koroshi A, Babameto A |title=Acute renal failure during acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. |volume=17 |issue=6 |pages=1110–2 |year=2002 |pmid=12032205 |doi= |url=http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=12032205] hepatic encephalopathy, [cite journal |author=Aggarwal R |title=Hepatic encephalopathy in pregnancy |journal=Indian J Gastroenterol |volume=22 Suppl 2 |issue= |pages=S78–80 |year=2003 |pmid=15025263 |doi= |url=] and pancreatitis.cite journal |author=Moldenhauer JS, O'brien JM, Barton JR, Sibai B |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy associated with pancreatitis: a life-threatening complication |journal=Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. |volume=190 |issue=2 |pages=502–5 |year=2004 |pmid=14981397 |doi=10.1016/j.ajog.2003.09.022 |url=] There have also been reports of diabetes insipiduscomplicating this condition. [cite journal |author=Kennedy S, Hall PM, Seymour AE, Hague WM |title=Transient diabetes insipidus and acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Br J Obstet Gynaecol |volume=101 |issue=5 |pages=387–91 |year=1994 |pmid=8018608 |doi= |url=]
Many laboratory abnormalities are seen in acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Liver enzymes are elevated, with the AST and ALT enzymes ranging from minimal elevation to 1000 IU/L, but usually staying in the 300-500 range.
Bilirubinis almost universally elevated. Alkaline phosphataseis often elevated in pregnancydue to production from the placenta, but may be additionally elevated. Other abnormalities may include an elevated white blood cell count, hypoglycemia, elevated coagulation parameters, including the international normalized ratio, and decreased fibrinogen. Frank disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, may occur in as many as 70% of patients.
ultrasoundmay show fat deposition in the liver, but, as the hallmark of this condition is microvesicular steatosis (see pathology below), this may not be seen on ultrasound. [cite journal |author=Castro MA, Ouzounian JG, Colletti PM, Shaw KJ, Stein SM, Goodwin TM |title=Radiologic studies in acute fatty liver of pregnancy. A review of the literature and 19 new cases |journal=J Reprod Med |volume=41 |issue=11 |pages=839–43 |year=1996 |pmid=8951135 |doi= |url=] Rarely, the condition can be complicated by rupture or necrosisof the liver, which may be identified by ultrasound.
The diagnosis of acute fatty liver of pregnancy is usually made on clinical grounds by the treating physician, but differentiation from other conditions affecting the
livermay be difficult. The diagnosis of acute fatty liver of pregnancy is suggested by jaundice with a lesser elevation of liver enzymes, elevated white blood cell count, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and a clinically more unwell patient.
liver biopsycan provide a definitive diagnosis, [cite journal |author=Brunt EM |title=Liver biopsy interpretation for the gastroenterologist |journal=Curr Gastroenterol Rep |volume=2 |issue=1 |pages=27–32 |year=2000 |pmid=10981000 |doi= |url=] but is not always done, due to the increased chance of bleeding in acute fatty liver of pregnancy. [cite journal |author=Castro MA, Goodwin TM, Shaw KJ, Ouzounian JG, McGehee WG |title=Disseminated intravascular coagulation and antithrombin III depression in acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. |volume=174 |issue=1 Pt 1 |pages=211–6 |year=1996 |pmid=8572009 |doi= |url=http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0002-9378(96)70396-4] Often testing will be done to exclude more common conditions that present in a similar fashion, including viral hepatitis, [cite journal |author=Pang WW, Lei CH, Chang DP, Yang TF, Chung YT, Huang MH |title=Acute jaundice in pregnancy: acute fatty liver or acute viral hepatitis? |journal=Acta Anaesthesiol. Sin. |volume=37 |issue=3 |pages=167–70 |year=1999 |pmid=10609353 |doi= |url=] pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, and autoimmune hepatitis.
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is best treated in a centre with expertise in
hepatology, high-risk obstetrics, maternal-fetal medicine and neonatology. The physicians who treat this condition will often consult with experts in liver transplantationin severe cases. Admission to the intensive care unitis recommended.
Initial treatment involves supportive management with
intravenousfluids, intravenous glucoseand blood products, including fresh frozen plasmaand cryoprecipitateto correct DIC. The fetusshould be monitored with cardiotocography. After the motheris stabilized, arrangements are usually made for delivery. This may occur vaginally, but, in cases of severe bleeding or compromise of the mother's status, a caesarian sectionmay be needed.
The complications of acute fatty liver of pregnancy may require treatment after delivery, especially if pancreatitis occurs. Liver transplantation is rarely required for treatment of the condition, but may be needed for mothers with severe DIC, those with rupture of the liver, or those with severe
encephalopathy. [cite journal |author=Pereira SP, O'Donohue J, Wendon J, Williams R |title=Maternal and perinatal outcome in severe pregnancy-related liver disease |journal=Hepatology |volume=26 |issue=5 |pages=1258–62 |year=1997 |pmid=9362370 |doi=10.1002/hep.510260525 |url=]
If a liver
biopsyis needed for diagnosis of the condition, the mother should be appropriately stabilized and treated to reduce bleeding related complications. The diagnosis can be made by a frozen-section (as opposed to a specimen in formalin) that is stained with the Oil red O stain, that shows microvesicular steatosis (or small collections of fatwithin the liver cells). The microvesicular steatosis usually spares zone one of the liver, which is the area closest to the hepatic artery. On the regular trichrome stain, the liver cell cytoplasmshows a foamy appearance due to the prominence of fat. Necrosisis rarely seen. The diagnosis can be enhanced by electron microscopywhich can be used to confirm the presence of microvesicular steatosis, and specifically the presence of megamitochondria and paracrystalline inclusions. [cite journal |author=Bacq Y |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy |journal=Semin. Perinatol. |volume=22 |issue=2 |pages=134–40 |year=1998 |pmid=9638907 |doi= |url=] cite journal |author=Reyes H, Sandoval L, Wainstein A, "et al" |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy: a clinical study of 12 episodes in 11 patients |journal=Gut |volume=35 |issue=1 |pages=101–6 |year=1994 |pmid=8307428 |pmc=1374642 |doi= |url=http://gut.bmj.com/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=8307428] Liver diseases with similar appearances include Reye's syndrome, drug-induced hepatitis from agents with mitochondrial toxicity, including nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitorsused to treat HIV, [cite journal |author=Montessori V, Harris M, Montaner JS |title=Hepatotoxicity of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors |journal=Semin. Liver Dis. |volume=23 |issue=2 |pages=167–72 |year=2003 |pmid=12800069 |doi=10.1055/s-2003-39947 |url=] and a rare condition known as Jamaican vomiting sicknesswhich is caused by the eating of the unripened Ackeefruit. [cite journal |author=Hautekeete ML, Degott C, Benhamou JP |title=Microvesicular steatosis of the liver |journal=Acta Clin Belg |volume=45 |issue=5 |pages=311–26 |year=1990 |pmid=2177300 |doi= |url=]
Epidemiology and prognosis
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is a rare condition and occurs in approximately one in 7,000 to one in 15,000 pregnancies. The mortality from acute fatty liver of pregnancy has reduced significantly to 18%, and is now related primarily to complications, particularly DIC and infections. After delivery, most mothers do well, as the stimulus for fatty acid overload is removed. The disease can recur in future pregnancies, with a calculated genetic chance of 25%; the actual rate is lower, however.cite journal |author=Tein I |title=Metabolic disease in the fetus predisposes to maternal hepatic complications of pregnancy |journal=Pediatr. Res. |volume=47 |issue=1 |pages=6–8 |year=2000 |pmid=10625076 |doi= |url=http://meta.wkhealth.com/pt/pt-core/template-journal/lwwgateway/media/landingpage.htm?issn=0031-3998&volume=47&issue=1&spage=6] Mortality of the fetus has also diminished significantly, but still remains 23%, [cite journal |author=Fesenmeier MF, Coppage KH, Lambers DS, Barton JR, Sibai BM |title=Acute fatty liver of pregnancy in 3 tertiary care centers |journal=Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. |volume=192 |issue=5 |pages=1416–9 |year=2005 |pmid=15902124 |doi=10.1016/j.ajog.2004.12.035 |url=] and may be related to the need for premature delivery.
The understanding of the causes of acute fatty liver of pregnancy has been ameliorated by advances in mitochondrial
biochemistry. Deficiency of LCHAD (3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase) leads to an accumulation of medium and long chain fatty acids. When this occurs in the fetus, the unmetabolized fatty acids will re-enter the maternal circulation through the placenta, and overwhelm the beta-oxidation enzymes of the mother. The generesponsible for LCHAD has been isolated, and the most common mutation found in acute fatty liver of pregnancy is the E474Q missense mutation. [cite journal |author=IJlst L, Oostheim W, Ruiter JP, Wanders RJ |title=Molecular basis of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency: identification of two new mutations |journal=J. Inherit. Metab. Dis. |volume=20 |issue=3 |pages=420–2 |year=1997 |pmid=9266371 |doi= |url=http://www.kluweronline.com/art.pdf?issn=0141-8955&volume=20&page=420] The disease is autosomal recessivein inheritance and mothers are often found to be heterozygousfor the affected mutation. [cite journal |author=Wanders RJ, Vreken P, den Boer ME, Wijburg FA, van Gennip AH, IJlst L |title=Disorders of mitochondrial fatty acyl-CoA beta-oxidation |journal=J. Inherit. Metab. Dis. |volume=22 |issue=4 |pages=442–87 |year=1999 |pmid=10407780 |doi= |url=http://www.kluweronline.com/art.pdf?issn=0141-8955&volume=22&page=442]
The disease was first described in 1940 by H. L. Sheehan as an "acute yellow atrophy" of the liver, and thought to be related to delayed
chloroformpoisoning.cite journal |author=Sheehan HL |title=The pathology of acute yellow atrophy and delayed chloroform poisoning |journal=J Obstet Gynaecol Br. Emp. |volume=47 |issue= |pages=49-62 |year=1940]
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