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Alternative Names Return to topIschemic hepatitis; Shock liver
Definition Return to top
Hepatic ischemia is a condition in which the liver does not get enough blood or oxygen, causing injury to liver cells.
Causes Return to top
Low blood pressure from any condition can lead to hepatic ischemia. Such conditions may include:
Other causes may include:
Symptoms Return to top
If low blood pressure continues for a long time, you may feel weak and light-headed. However, the period of low blood pressure may be brief and produce no symptoms. Damage to the liver cells usually does not cause symptoms.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Blood levels of liver enzymes such as AST and ALT typically rise 1-3 days after the episode of low blood pressure. Levels of another enzyme in the blood, LDH, are also usually high.
Treatment Return to top
Treatment depends on the cause of the low blood pressure. Low blood pressure must be treated so that the liver receives enough blood. The illness causing the problem must also be treated.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Patients generally recover if the illness causing hepatic ischemia can be treated. Death from liver failure due to hepatic ischemia is very rare.
Possible Complications Return to top
Liver failure is a rare but life-threatening complication.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
See your health care provider right away if you have persistent weakness or symptoms of shock or dehydration.
Prevention Return to top
Quickly treating the causes of low blood pressure may prevent hepatic ischemia.
References Return to top
Jain R, Thiele D. Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Manifestations of Systemic Diseases. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2006:chap 34.Update Date: 8/22/2008 Updated by: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.