Ischemic hepatitis; Shock liver
Hepatic ischemia is a deficiency of blood or oxygen supply to the liver that causes injury to liver cells.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Low blood pressure resulting from any condition - including heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, dehydration, severe bleeding, and infection- can lead to hepatic ischemia.
If the low blood pressure continues for an extended period, the patient may feel weak and lightheaded. However, the period of low blood pressure may be brief and produce no symptoms at the time. The damage to the liver cells is generally without symptoms as well.
Signs and tests
Blood levels of liver enzymes such as AST and ALT typically rise 1-3 days after the episode of low blood pressure. Another enzyme in the blood, LDH, is also usually quite elevated.
Treatment depends on the cause of the low blood pressure, which must be addressed to keep the liver’s blood supply stable.
Patients generally recover if the underlying illness can be treated. Death from liver failure as a result of hepatic ischemia is very rare.
Liver failure is a possible but rare complication that can lead to death.
Calling your health care provider
See your health care provider urgently if you have persistent weakness or signs of shock or dehydration.
Prompt treatment of underlying causes of low blood pressure may prevent hepatic ischemia.
by David A. Scott, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.