N-acetylcysteine treatment in viral-induced acute liver failure


  • Tauseef Nabi Department of Endocrinology, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
  • Nadeema Rafiq Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, India




Acute liver failure, Viral-ALF, Hepatic encephalopathy, Hepatitis E virus, N-acetylcysteine


Background: Acute liver failure (ALF) is characterized by acute derangement of liver function and carries high mortality. Viral hepatitis is still one of the main causes of ALF in the India as well in world. A prospective case control study was carried with the aim to determine the effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on survival of viral-ALF patients.

Methods: 37 patients with a diagnosis of viral-ALF were included in the study. 18 patients received NAC infusion for 72 hrs whereas 19 patients in control group received placebo. The variables evaluated were demographic, biochemical, outcome and length of hospital stay.

Results: Out of 37 viral-ALF patients, acute HEV-induced ALF (48.6%) was most common followed by HBV (24.3%) and HAV (21.6%). The two groups were comparable for the various baseline characteristics (age, INR, bilirubin, ALT, creatinine, albumin, grade of encephalopathy, mean grade of coma etc.). Use of NAC was associated with a shorter length of hospital stay of survived patients (p=0.024). A total of 20 of 37 (54.1%) patients died with ALF complications; 7 (38.9%) patients belonged to NAC group and 13 (68.4%) patients to control group (p=0.079). HEV induced ALF showed significant improved in survival than Non HEV induced ALF with NAC administration (p=0.022).

Conclusions: HEV was the most frequently cause of viral-ALF. Overall survival was not improved by NAC. HEV induced ALF showed significant improved in survival than Non HEV induced ALF with NAC administration. NAC reduced duration of hospital stay.


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Original Research Articles