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Reuters Health Information (2008-07-15): Fatty liver of pregnancy rarer than previously thought


Fatty liver of pregnancy rarer than previously thought

Last Updated: 2008-07-15 14:07:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Already known to be rare, the incidence of acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP) is lower than estimated previously, UK researchers report in the July issue of Gut.

Moreover, lead investigator Dr. Marian Knight told Reuters Health, "This study shows that the outcomes of acute fatty liver for women are not as poor as previously believed. However, there remains a significant risk of stillbirth."

Dr. Knight of the University of Oxford and colleagues identified a total of 57 women in the UK diagnosed with AFLP from an estimated 1.1 million deliveries over an 18-month period.

Among the affected women, 10 had twin pregnancies and 9 were underweight. One woman died and another received a liver transplant. There were 7 deaths among 67 infants, giving a perinatal mortality rate of 104 per 1000 births.

The estimated incidence of AFLP, say the investigators, is 5.0 per 100,000 maternities. This is substantially lower than in previous hospital-based studies, one of which reported an incidence of 111 cases per 100,000 births.

Dr. Knight noted that "women with twin pregnancies are at greater risk of the condition, although the risk is still small."

"Clinicians should be aware of this," she concluded, "when counseling and monitoring women with multiple pregnancies."

Gut 2008;57:951-956.

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