Acute liver failure (ALF) due to hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection is an uncommon but potentially lethal illness. The aim of this study was to identify readily available laboratory and clinical features associated with a poor prognosis among ALF patients with HAV infection. The presenting features of 29 adults with anti-HAV IgM positive ALF enrolled in the ALFSG_between 1998 and 2005 were reviewed. The HAV patients listed for transplantation by UNOS were also reviewed. Acute HAV accounted for 3.1% of patients enrolled in the ALFSG. At 3 weeks follow-up, 16 had spontaneously recovered (55%), 9 underwent transplantation (31%), and 4 had died (14%). A prognostic model incorporating 4 presenting features (serum ALT <2,600 IU/L, creatinine >2.0 mg/dL, intubation, pressors) had an AUROC for transplant/death of 0.899 which was significantly better than the King's College criteria (0.623, P = .018) and MELD scores (0.707, P = .0503). Between 1988 and 2005, the frequency of patients requiring liver transplantation for HAV in the UNOS database significantly decreased from 0.7% to 0.1% (P < .001). In addition, the proportion of HAV cases enrolled in the ALFSG significantly decreased from 5% to 0.8% (P = .007). In conclusion, the frequency of HAV patients enrolling in the ALFSG and being listed for liver transplantation in the United States has declined in parallel. A prognostic index consisting of 4 clinical and laboratory features predicted the likelihood of transplant/death significantly better than other published models suggesting that disease specific prognostic models may be of value in non-acetaminophen ALF.
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