Background & Aims: In patients with chronic liver disease, race plays a role in the rate of survival after transplantation. It is not known how race and ethnicity influence the presentation, etiology, and outcomes in patients with acute liver failure (ALF). Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using the ALF Study Group database to assess differences between racial and ethnic groups in subjects with ALF. Results: In the cohort of 927 subjects (81.8% white, 12.8% black, and 5.4% Asian), enrolled between January 1998 and March 2006, age, sex, and level of education were comparable among the groups. Differences were found in the prevalence of psychiatric illness and the use of medications. Racial groups also differed with respect to etiology of ALF. Whites presented more frequently with acetaminophen toxicity (51% vs 27%; P < .001). By day 21, 228 (30%) whites, 46 (39%) blacks, and 11 (22%) Asians had died. There were no significant differences found in the overall mortality rate after adjustment for potential confounders including etiology of ALF, encephalopathy, age, sex, admission laboratory values, and region. The odds of liver transplantation were higher among Asians and Hispanics; however, this finding was attenuated after adjustment for the previously-described confounders (adjusted odds ratio, 1.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-3.13; and adjusted odds ratio, 1.89; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-3.30, respectively). Conclusions: In patients with ALF, there were no significant differences in survival or rate of liver transplantation among racial and ethnic groups except for transplantation in Hispanics.
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