Outcomes of Acute Liver Injury in Adults Due to Wilson’s Disease: Is Survival Without Transplant Possible?

Michelle A. Camarata, Michelle Gottfried, Jody A. Rule, Aftab Ala, William M. Lee, R. Todd Stravitz, Michael L. Schilsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Wilson’s disease (WD) is a rare cause of acute liver failure (ALF) that is thought to have a uniformly fatal outcome without liver transplantation (LT). Previous studies proposed diagnostic and prognostic criteria for WD-ALF. It is not known whether these apply to WD patients presenting as severe acute liver injury (ALI) without encephalopathy. From 2008 to 2018, 822 patients with ALI in the US Acute Liver Failure Study Group (ALFSG) registry were enrolled and prospectively followed. The diagnosis of WD-ALI was confirmed in 8 patients. Serum biochemical diagnostic ratios predicting WD-ALF (alkaline phosphatase [ALP]:total bilirubin(TB) and aspartate aminotransferase [AST]:alanine aminotransferase [ALT]) were determined in these patients, and predictors of prognosis for WD-ALI were evaluated. Of these 8 ALI-WD patients, 5 received an LT. Ratios of both ALP:TB of <4 and AST:ALT of >2.2 on study admission were met in 4 LT patients. All LT patients were female. The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease scores on admission were generally higher in LT patients. All transplanted patients had an initial revised WD score of >11 (>10 predicting poor outcome without LT in WD-ALF), whereas in non-LT patients, 2 had scores of 9, and 1 a score of 13. Also, 3 LT patients were started on chelation therapy, 2 were started on plasmapheresis, and 1 was started on Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System therapy. All non-LT patients were treated with chelation. At 21 days, all patients were alive and discharged from the hospital. In conclusion, some patients with ALI due to WD may survive without LT. Revised Wilson index scores >10 predict poor outcome in most patients with WD-ALI, as they do for WD-ALF, and they correlate positively with the ALI model in this cohort. Biochemical ratios for WD diagnosis appear more applicable to ALF compared with WD-ALI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-336
Number of pages7
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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