What are the complications of acute viral hepatitis?

  • Liver failure with acute viral hepatitis is uncommon. Liver failure presents with drowsiness and confusion or severe vomiting. These children need urgent referral to hospital. Some of these children die.
  • Chronic hepatitis due to the hepatitis B virus may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer in adulthood. Therefore, it is important to prevent hepatitis due to the hepatitis B virus.

In acute liver failure there is usually hypoglycaemia, low clotting factors and raised serum ammonia. Chronic (active) hepatitis is recognised by persistent raised liver enzymes.

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