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Propylthiouracil-induced liver failure and artificial liver support systems: a case report and review of the literature

Authors Wu DB, Chen EQ, Bai L, Tang H

Received 19 September 2016

Accepted for publication 21 November 2016

Published 11 January 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 65—68


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Deyun Wang

Dong-Bo Wu,1,2 En-Qiang Chen,1,2 Lang Bai,1,2 Hong Tang1,2

1Center of Infectious Diseases, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, 2Division of Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, Sichuan University, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China

Background: Antithyroid drugs carry a potential risk of hepatotoxicity. Propylthiouracil (PTU) is commonly prescribed for patients with hyperthyroidism. PTU, however, can induce liver injury, ranging from mild asymptomatic elevation of aminotransferases to acute liver failure (ALF).
Case presentation: This case reports on a 16-year-old Chinese girl with hyperthyroidism, who was admitted to our hospital for jaundice, nausea, and fatigue associated with severe hyperbilirubinemia and coagulopathy. She had been prescribed PTU 5 months earlier. There was no history of hypersensitivity to drugs, viral liver diseases, blood transfusion, or surgery. On the basis of her symptoms and the clinical data, she was diagnosed with PTU-induced ALF. Due to the limited number of available donor organs for liver transplantation, she was started on treatment with artificial liver support system (ALSS). After four sessions of ALSS, her clinical signs and symptoms were found to be markedly improved, and she was discharged 25 days after admission. Four months later, her liver function normalized.
Conclusion: Although PTU-induced liver failure is rare in clinical practice, liver function should be appropriately monitored during treatment with PTU. PTU-induced ALF in this patient was successfully managed with an ALSS, suggesting that the latter may be an alternative to liver transplantation.

Keywords: propylthiouracil, liver injury, acute liver failure, artificial liver support systems

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