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There are a lot of people all over the world who are not aware of what acute fatty liver in pregnancy is. They need to know that it is a severe complication, which is unique to pregnancy. A woman who is diagnosed with this condition is having micro vesicular steatosis in the liver. Experts believe that the main cause of this disorder is a mitochondrial dysfunction in the oxidation of the fatty acids that leads to an accumulation in hepatocytes. When this happens, a woman will experience acute liver dysfunction and the symptoms of the acute fatty liver will occur because of that. Women need to know that it is essential that this condition is diagnosed and treated in time. If not, there are great chances for neonatal and maternal morbidity and mortality.


The experts are still unsure of the real pathophysiology and this condition is unique to pregnancy. There is no sure telling which women will develop it but some studies show that primiparous women are more likely to develop it than multiparous women.


Frequency in the United States

This condition is not that often and 1 out of 7000 and 16,000 deliveries will experience acute fatty liver of pregnancy. The good news is that mortality and morbidity are no longer often because of the better diagnosis and supportive care. In the 1980’s, the mortality rate for both mother and fetus was some 85%. However, nowadays the maternal mortality is some 12-18% and the neonatal mortality rates from 7 to 66%. Women need to know that no specific race ends up with this condition and that all child-bearing women are in danger of it, no matter what their age is.


The doctors may have problems with clinical presentation of this disorder due to the fact that it is nonspecific and the doctor needs to focus on some complaints. Some of these complaints include malaise, nausea and vomiting in the third trimester, epigastric pain, acute renal failure, infection, pancreatitis and hypoglycemia.

On a physical exam, a patient may complain about hypertension, bleeding, confusion and jaundice.

Medical care

The only possible treatment for this condition, once it has been diagnosed, is the delivery of the fetus. There are several factors that determine the mode of delivery, like fetal status, maternal coagulation status and likelihood of success with induction labor. Women should also know that there are no surgical treatments for acute fatty liver in pregnancy.

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