Zozaya Nieto C, Fernández Caamaño B, Muñoz Bartolo G, Menéndez Suso JJ, Frauca Remacha E, Valverde Núñez E.J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 May;64(5):754-759. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001501.


To describe the epidemiological features, clinical characteristics and outcomes of neonates diagnosed with liver failure, as well as determine prognostic factors.

Cohort study conducted at a single tertiary referral and university-affiliated pediatric center. Hospital records of all neonates diagnosed with liver failure between January 2003 and December 2015 were retrospectively reviewed, and data on clinical and laboratory findings, treatment, and outcomes were collected. Survival analysis (Kaplan-Meier) and Cox regression were performed to identify prognostic factors at diagnosis. Liver failure diagnosis was established using the pediatric acute liver failure study group's diagnostic criteria for every patient with coagulopathy and biochemical pattern of liver disease.

Forty-five patients were included. In our series, most cases were secondary to ischemia (28.9%). Other causes were neonatal hemochromatosis (17.8%), viral infections (13.3%), and inborn errors of metabolism (13.3%). A total 55.6% (25/45) of the patients died (median age: 16 days; range 1-235 days). Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) at diagnosis was associated with higher mortality or the need for liver transplantation on day 21 after diagnosis (P = .006). For every 500 IU/L increase in ALT serum levels, the mortality/liver transplantation rate increased 1.3 times (hazard ratio 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.6). Although ischemic neonatal acute liver failure presents with higher ALT levels, these cases appear to have better outcomes. Higher international normalized ratio tended to increase mortality/transplantation (hazard ratio 1.02; 95% confidence interval 0.91-1.2).

Neonatal liver failure should perhaps be considered in the differential diagnoses of any coagulopathy. ALT and international normalized ratio levels at diagnosis could predict prognosis in the short term. Ischemic liver failure appears to have a better prognosis.

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