People who have fulminant hepatitis typically develop the symptoms
seen in viral hepatitis. Then rapidly—within hours, days, or sometimes
weeks—they develop severe, often life-threatening liver failure.
Symptoms of severe liver failure include confusion, extreme
irritability, altered consciousness (usually leading to unconsciousness or
coma), blood-clotting defects, and buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity,
arms, and legs.
The only known way to prevent fulminant viral
hepatitis is to prevent viral hepatitis infection.
can reverse fulminant hepatitis. People who have fulminant hepatitis need to be
hospitalized in an intensive care unit so they can be cared for until their
condition becomes more stable. For some people, a
liver transplant is the only lifesaving option. People
younger than age 40 who have fulminant hepatitis are more likely to recover
than older adults or people who have chronic liver
Depending on the cause of the fulminant hepatitis, about
40 to 70 out of 100 people recover without receiving major treatment.1
Bell BP, et al. (2004). Hepatitis A virus. In RD
Feigin et al., eds., Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 5th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2069–2086. Philadelphia: Saunders.
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