People who have fulminant hepatitis typically develop the symptoms seen in viral hepatitis. Then they rapidly develop severe, often life-threatening liver failure. This can happen within hours, days, or sometimes weeks.
When people with fulminant hepatitis develop severe liver failure, symptoms may include:
Altered consciousness. (This usually leads to unconsciousness or coma.)
Buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, arms, and legs.
No medicine can reverse fulminant hepatitis. People who have it need to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit. While there, they can be cared for until their condition becomes more stable. For some people, a liver transplant is the only lifesaving option. People younger than age 40 who have fulminant hepatitis are more likely to recover than older adults or people who have chronic liver disease.
Author: Healthwise Staff Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.