Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Objective: To determine the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in children aged > 1 month to 16 years admitted with Fulminant Hepatic Failure (FHF) secondary to Acute Viral Hepatitis (AVH) in a tertiary care center of a developing country.

Study Design: Analytical study.

Place and Duration of Study: Department of Paediatrics, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, from January 2007 to December 2011.

Methodology: Medical records of children (> 1 month - 16 years) with FHF admitted with AVH of known etiology who received NAC were reviewed retrospectively. Liver function tests (mean ± SD) at baseline, 24 hours after NAC and before or at the time of discharge/death were recorded and compared via using repeated measures ANOVA (r-ANOVA). Efficacy of NAC is defined in improvement in biochemical markers, liver function test and discharge disposition (survived or died). Mortality associated risk factors were identified by using logistic regression analysis. P-value and 95% confidence interval were recorded.

Results: Forty children (mean age was 80 ± 40 months) with FHF secondary to AVH received NAC. Majority were males (n=25; 63%). Vomiting (75%) and jaundice (65%) were the main presenting symptoms, one-third had hypoglycemic, while 40% had altered sensorium at the time of admission. There was significant statistical difference in liver enzymes and prothrombin time on admission comparing at discharge in children received NAC (p < 0.001). Fifteen (38%) children died. Severe vomiting {Odds Ratio (OR) 0.22, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.05 - 0.8}, jaundice (OR 9.3, CI 1.1 - 82.6), inotropic support (OR 20.6, CI 3.5 - 118.3) and mechanical ventilation (OR 4.3, CI 1.1 - 16.6) at the time of admission are associated with risk factors for mortality in children with FHF secondary to AVH.

Conclusion: NAC used in children with FHF secondary to AVH is associated with markedly improved liver function tests and recovery. FHF with complications is high risk for mortality


JCPSP: Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan