Use of N-Acetylcysteine in children with fulminant hepatic failure caused by acute viral hepatitis

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in children aged > 1 month to 16 years admitted with Fulminant Hepatic Failure (FHF) secondary to Acute Viral Hepatitis (AVH) in a tertiary care center of a developing country. Study Design: Analytical study. Place and Duration of Study: Department of Paediatrics, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, from January 2007 to December 2011. Methodology: Medical records of children (> 1 month - 16 years) with FHF admitted with AVH of known etiology who received NAC were reviewed retrospectively. Liver function tests (mean ± SD) at baseline, 24 hours after NAC and before or at the time of discharge/death were recorded and compared via using repeated measures ANOVA (r-ANOVA). Efficacy of NAC is defined in improvement in biochemical markers, liver function test and discharge disposition (survived or died). Mortality associated risk factors were identified by using logistic regression analysis. P-value and 95% confidence interval were recorded. Results: Forty children (mean age was 80 ± 40 months) with FHF secondary to AVH received NAC. Majority were males (n=25; 63%). Vomiting (75%) and jaundice (65%) were the main presenting symptoms, one-third had hypoglycemic, while 40% had altered sensorium at the time of admission. There was significant statistical difference in liver enzymes and prothrombin time on admission comparing at discharge in children received NAC (p < 0.001). Fifteen (38%) children died. Severe vomiting {Odds Ratio (OR) 0.22, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.05-0.8}, jaundice (OR 9.3, CI 1.1-82.6), inotropic support (OR 20.6, CI 3.5-118.3) and mechanical ventilation (OR 4.3, CI 1.1-16.6) at the time of admission are associated with risk factors for mortality in children with FHF secondary to AVH. Conclusion: NAC used in children with FHF secondary to AVH is associated with markedly improved liver function tests and recovery. FHF with complications is high risk for mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-358
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Acute viral hepatitis
  • Children
  • Fulminant hepatic failure
  • N-acetylcysteine


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