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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Volk M. L., Marrero J. A.
Division of Gastroenterology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Complications of liver disease are commonly seen in the intensive care unit (ICU). When evaluating patients with liver disease in the ICU, it is important to determine whether it is acute or chronic liver disease. Because the pathophysiological mechanisms differ among acute and chronic liver, they will be consider separately in this review. Significant advances in the management of acute liver failure highlight the importance of intracranial pressure monitoring for Grade III/IV encephalopathy, and suggest that moderate hypothermia may be a promising treatment for these patients with refractory intracranial hypertension. Chronic liver disease is best discussed in terms of the various complications that may ensue such as ascites, hepatorenal syndrome, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, variceal hemorrhage and hepatic encephalopathy. Each of these conditions will be discussed with specific attention to critical care management.