In 25 patients with fulminant hepatic failure the prognostic value of a quantitative liver function test, the galactose elimination capacity, was assessed and comapred with routine liver function tests and clinical features. The galactose elimination capacity was significantly higher (P less than 0-05) in the five patients who survived than in the 20 patients who died. None of the other liver function tests, was significantly different. The values of the galactose elimination capacity overlapped considerably between survivors and non-survivors, but all patients with a galactose elimination capacity below 12-8 mumol galactose/min and kg body weight died. The disease among most patients who died having a galactose elimination capacity greater than 13 mumol ran a subacute course. It is suggested that quantitative liver function tests be included when new treatments of fulminant hepatic failure are investigated.
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