[The pregnant patient with acute liver disease].Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2002 Aug 03; 146(31):1433-7.NT
Acute liver disease was diagnosed in three pregnant patients: two 30-year-old women had a 'haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets' (HELLP) syndrome and acute fatty liver of pregnancy, respectively, and a 20-year-old woman had acute liver failure due to acute hepatitis B. The first two patients had a caesarean section, the third one delivered her child, which died spontaneously shortly after birth at a gestational age of 23 weeks. She was then treated by liver transplantation. All three patients left the hospital in good condition. Liver diseases in pregnancy may be pregnancy-related, e.g. the HELLP syndrome and acute fatty liver of pregnancy, but they may also be coincidental phenomena, e.g. viral hepatitis. The HELLP syndrome is often associated with pre-eclampsia, and presents with epigastric pain and thrombocytopenia with haemolysis. Acute fatty liver disease and acute liver failure due to hepatitis present with liver insufficiency characterised by anorexia, nausea, coagulopathy, hypoglycaemia and elevated serum ammonia levels. Management depends on the diagnosis and the gestational age; pregnancy complicated by acute fatty liver disease should be terminated while pregnancy complicated by the HELLP syndrome early in pregnancy may be maintained to improve the outcome of the foetus. In acute liver failure due to viral hepatitis, termination of pregnancy alone does not affect the disease.