ALF is a much-dreaded severe complication of liver injury that, as the name implies, develops over a short period of time; at most, it’s 26 weeks. It can lead to life-threatening complications, such as cerebral edema and multiorgan failure.
The liver has a tremendous reserve and regeneration ability and can handle a lot of inflammation without its synthetic function being affected. It is only when the latter is compromised — judged by an elevated INR of over 1.5 — that the liver’s ability to metabolize toxins gets affected. People can develop confusion related to liver disease or hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
A combination of these findings is what defines ALF, which carries a poor prognosis without treatment and liver transplantation in some cases.