Fulminate Hepatic Failure in a 5 Year Old Female after Inappropriate Acetaminophen Treatment
Keywords:acetaminophen, toxicity, liver failure, NAC, pancreatitis
BACKGROUND: Acetaminophen is a drug widely used in children because of its safety and efficacy. Although the risk of its toxicity is lower in children such reactions occur in pediatric patients from intentional overdoses and less frequently attributable to unintended inappropriate dosing. The aim of reporting this case is to attract the attention to the risk of the acetaminophen toxicity when administered in high doses.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report here a 5 year old girl who developed fulminate liver failure with renal impairment and acute pancreatitis, as a result of acetaminophen toxicity caused from unintentional repeated supratherapeutic ingestion, with a total administered dose of 4800 mg in three consecutive days, 1600 mg/day, approximately 90 mg/kg/day. The blood level of acetaminophen after 10 hours of the last administered dose was 32 mg/l. The patient presented with high fever, jaundice, lethargic, agitating with abdominal pain accompanied by encephalopathy. The liver function test revealed with high level of alanine aminotransferase 5794 UI/l and aspartate aminotransferase 6000 UI/l. Early initiation of oral N-acetylcysteine (NAC) after biochemical evidence of liver toxicity was beneficial with rapid improvement of liver enzymes, hepatic function and encephalopathy. During the course of the illness the child developed acute pancreatitis with hyperamylasemia 255 UI/L and hyperlypasemia 514 UI/ L. Patient totally recovered within 29 days.CONCLUSION: Healthcare providers should considered probable acetaminophen toxicity in any child who has received the drug and presented with liver failure. When there is a high index of suspicion of acetaminophen toxicity NAC should be initiated and continued until there are no signs of hepatic dysfunction.
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